You know my trouble? Priorities. I am unable to prioritise. Or, to clarify, I am unable to prioritise as an adult. I am sure I would be much less frazzled if I just put the essential, grown up things first and then fitted in the frippery later. My big problem with this is that I would rather do the frippery. For example, looking at the next few days it is busy – probably not as busy as the rest of you but busy for me. (I was wondering the other day, how I used to make Christmas happen when small children were involved – respect to you all) However, if I split the main things I have on my plate into essentials or not essentials…..

Essential

  • Complete food shop online
  • Go to work
  • Meal plan
  • Wrap presents
  • Buy presents

Non essentials

  • Go to panto with family
  • See The Princess Bride at cinema in new print
  • Go to third carol service
  • See Star Wars within 48 hours of release

So obviously, you look and you think she could lose the second list and that’s what I keep thinking but if I look again

  • Go to panto with family (Love local pantos – usually laugh like elephant coughing)
  • See The Princess Bride (I love it and if you go to these sorts of things, maybe film people will make more of these and less killer zombie movies)
  • Go to third carol service (Three may be a bit excessive but this one has the candles and the lessons and the stuff)
  • See Star Wars within 48 hours of release (Non-negotiable)

The top list may be essential, looking at the second lot though, although I don’t need to do them, I am going to. (Do them that is) Because they are things I love. I get to spend time with great people often laughing till snot comes down my nose and, once I get going, I am really glad I made the effort.

Besides, you have to be grateful if you have nice friends to go to nice things with. Aged Parent is having a few problems with her friend at the moment (She of the “Excessive sex drive” and the Deputy Dawg hat) Apparently last weekend she had her “boyfriend” round. I say boyfriend – it is a man she met through Chat Magazine. Anyway at 5am Aged Parent was woken by her chum banging on her door and shouting “He’s having a fit! He’s having a fit!” And indeed he was so an ambulance was called. And, as is often the way, the involvement of health professionals meant that a little more of the “boyfriend’s” background came to light.  So, later that day, as Aged Parent and her friend shared some tea and restorative Custard Creams, AP nodded sagely as her friend said

“Well it turns out, he has a long criminal record, deep-seated mental health problems, huge debts and a gammy leg. I’m not sure I can see any future in the relationship.”

“Well of course. It’s probably for the best” says AP. She is somewhat taken aback as her friend muses aloud

“I know. I’m not sure I can cope with his epilepsy.”

 

 

I think this is very definitely advent now. I have actually bought all but a couple of presents all of a sudden and all decorations are up. (Well to be strictly accurate, HOH has a week off at this time of year and he has done all the actual physical fairy light hanging and shop trawling although my help, in an advisory capacity, was, apparently invaluable)

I have continued to amble through the Advent for Everyone book this week. It is an unusual Advent book. No mention yet of Baby Jesus or Mary or anyone. This week – Week 1 has been about Thanksgiving. This week has been challenging about generosity and thankful hearts. It is not at all wishy washy though – he doesn’t talk about being thankful for anything in particular – not circumstances of life or even answers to prayer. He talks about thanksgiving as being a natural state of where we are and who we are in God. It is all very challenging. Such as

“Young Christians need wisdom and understanding not just in book learning or human traditions but a deep inner sense of who they now are, of the newly created life which they have received from God.”

I am thinking that if I could get hold of half of who I am in Christ, that I would lose all the insecurities that I struggle with and thanksgiving would naturally follow. This the (wholly plausible) theory. Actually taking it on board and living it is something else altogether

As you know I endeavour to always protect you dear readers from the various trials and tribulations of my hum drum life. By jiddy, however, I have had a bit of a trying week. I had to apologise to someone this week. It was entirely my fault (although to be fair to me, as you know I am always fair to me, my bad behaviour was not a nasty thing – more an inability to remain calm, cool and collected) So, I apologised (quite right too) and my apology was handed back to me – not unaccepted exactly but with no comfort or understanding.

I think that if I understood who I was, in God,  a bit more clearly, I would be able to deal with this a bit better – maybe understand the reasoning behind things rather than see them just from my own point of view. Also I would be better at shaking the dust from my feet when I have done all I could and then move on.

As I say – this is an unusual Advent Book. One commenter this week said that she had taken to writing bits of it down in the back of the book to go back to later. It’s a good idea. If I thought this was challenging – next week is Patience. Ha!

 

Some Christmas Lists from me.

Films I have seen recently

  1. Thor Ragnock (Possibly – can’t remember actual name of it) Very funny. Didn’t know who anyone was.
  2. Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool. Not so funny. Very good but sad though. Julie Walters = genius.
  3. Paddington 2. Extremely funny. Laughed a lot but also sobbed like baby.
  4. Murder on the Orient Express. Look – you know what you are going to get. Stop moaning.

Telly I have liked

  1. Howard’s End. Yummy. Bit weird but yummy.
  2. Nigella’s Kitchen Table. Would never actually cook anything. Just like looking at it all.
  3. (Struggling a bit)
  4. BT Sport Champion’s League Coverage. Does that count?

HOH would like to include Peaky Blinders and a French thing about lots of dead people on a bus. Am vetoing because it is my list and because we all know what happens in these things and it ‘s not pleasant.

Books next to my bed

  1. Agatha Christie. Murder of Roger Ackroyd. Guessed it in second chapter. Boom! (V good though)
  2. CP Snow. The Affair. Like wading through treacle. In a good way.
  3. Alan Bennett. Keeping on Keeping on. He’s not really very cheerful.
  4. Tom Wright. Advent for Everyone. Keep having to re-read. Deceptive depth.

Aged Parent’s Dilemmas

  1. When AP popped her head unannounced round someone’s flat door – was it likely that they thought she was on the rob? Answer. No.
  2. Is it her position to tell her friend that her hat with floppy bits that tie under her chin makes her look like Deputy Dawg? Answer. Completely no.
  3. Is The Christmas Wish with Rob Lowe the greatest film ever made? This is taking into account the amount of times AP has watched it? Answer. Still no.
  4. Is a film about Jews dying horrible deaths after hiding under floorboards during the Holocaust an acceptable Christmas present if she really wants to see it? Answer. No because I ain’t asking for it in HMV
  5. Is it acceptable to chat with your granddaughter about bowel movements, Laxido or wind? Answer. No! No! (You’ll have to take my word for it but that was a stereo answer.

People who are really annoying me at the present time

Have been advised to scrap this because it is not very Christian and some of it could end up in court. Pah! Am looking up Christian curses instead.  It’s also quite a long list.

Things I am panicking about (in a non Philippian faith/prayer type way)

  1. Donald Trump (Really America? No. Seriously. I mean, it wouldn’t be my business unless he wasn’t TRYING TO BLOW THE WHOLE WORLD UP)
  2. Brexit. Who has any actual idea what is happening. What is going to happen? These people seem to be idiots. All of ’em.
  3. Christmas. Have you seen the date? Have I bought anything? What do you think?

Philippians 4 v 6

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.

 

Well this is awkward. The trouble with writing about a book when you are taking part in Tracing Rainbows Pause in Advent is that, in week one, you have only just started so I (a) do not have the faintest idea what I will be writing about as I haven’t read it yet and (b) will be a week behind for the whole thing – by my – admittedly dodgy – maths. I have decided that the best thing to do is to launch in and hope for the best which is a phrase I live by to varying degrees of success. I thought about cross-stitching it to go into the bathroom. It will certainly go down better than my “If it’s yellow – let it mellow” idea for bathroom art.

To more edifying things. As promised, I have begun to read Tom Wright’s Advent for Everyone; along with everyone else on Twitter. I hate being this late to a party. Am I the only person in the world who has never heard of him? In an attempt to at least get within spitting distance of Advent timings, I have only read the Introduction and the First Sunday reading, sorry.

I have already been struck by his theme for week one – Thanksgiving. So we are going to do Thanksgiving before the actual giving of the gift -which is different I suppose. This is his verse for today.

1 Corinthians 1 v 3-9 Every time I think of you—and I think of you often!—I thank God for your lives of free and open access to God, given by Jesus. There’s no end to what has happened in you—it’s beyond speech, beyond knowledge. The evidence of Christ has been clearly verified in your lives.

Just think—you don’t need a thing, you’ve got it all! All God’s gifts are right in front of you as you wait expectantly for our Master Jesus to arrive on the scene for the Finale. And not only that, but God himself is right alongside to keep you steady and on track until things are all wrapped up by Jesus. God, who got you started in this spiritual adventure, shares with us the life of his Son and our Master Jesus. He will never give up on you. Never forget that.

This is not quite what I expected from an Advent book. I think I was expecting a count back from stable, shepherds, donkey etc and then a walk through the story. This seems to be different in that it has chosen themes based on the words of the Apostles and will mull over them on the way in to Christmas. So what to be thankful for? That God is with us, alongside us and working for us. The author says that what sets  Christians apart is that we can call on the name of Jesus. I am not as good as I should be on calling on the name of Jesus. I bungle though things on my own, I worry about the future and the past and often only call on God as a last resort.  Day One and I see that I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot to learn about what God and how much he cares for me.

It is dark. It is cold. I have turned the heat up and am trying to find socks. I live in the South West of England so you will be thinking that I am a bit wussy – this is not the Highlands with horizontal biting winds or anything but you never know how things pan out do you? It could get unexpectedly nasty weather wise.

Speaking of unexpectedly nasty, that’s what I become when asked about Aged Parent’s kitchen fitting experience. Not that I am having a go at the workmen. By all accounts they were paragons of lovely if slightly weary patience. I think I may have said that Aged Parent wouldn’t cope that well with all the mess and change and, unfortunately, I was correct. I won’t bother you with too much  detail but the phrase “Never again” probably sums the week up best.  At one point we were taking about three calls a day from her complaining about – well most things really. Still all is complete now and despite a minor (well not that minor ) panic when Aged Parent found a mark on the new oilcloth and a long debate about how annoyed the kitchen fitters were going to be after all that work and how I had probably ruined the whole floor. Why me? Why would it be me? Also – they don’t care. Also it came off. A bit of bleach and it came off. CALM DOWN!

On to less contentious matters. It is Advent Sunday next week or something.  Anyway, Christmas is definitely on the horizon everybody. Obviously, I have not done any kind of preparation at all, but that is a traditional as Christmas presents so that is fine. I am quite taken with the idea of Advent this year. Life circumstances are squashing my head a bit flat at the moment what with one thing and another. Everyone who is talking about Advent is using it as a time to stop and think, to slow down and to concentrate on the plan that was beginning to be put in place. I think it would do me good to realise again the greatness of God and how much he wants to be involved in my life.

So I have bought a book. I have not read anything by Tom Wright so you may be wiser than me. There are daily readings starting next Sunday and as part of Ang’s Pause in Advent, I am thinking I will share stuff I read there on Sundays. (Unless the book is rubbish of course. I know, I know – only joking. Well it might be though)

Have a good Monday.