This is late. I am sorry. I have been soooo busy but in case you care – my thoughts on the festive season and the time following it…
Things I am discovering…….
1.Having a son who is doing A levels has improved my knowledge of Stalin, annotation of texts, philosopy and the way an album sleeve is constructed immeasurably.
2.None of the above are of any use to me in any way.
3.Test Match Special can almost make an afternoon of ironing bearable
4.It is snow. It is not the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (South Coast of England – Do you hear me?)
5.It is not cool to sniffle with pride as your son plays bass for the first time in the worship band.
6.It would apparently not have been cool either for the whole family to turn up for the meeting in “We love the Bass Player” matching T shirts. Only trying to encourage…
7.Cooking for seven at Christmas Dinner is much more than twice as hard than cooking for four. How can that be? Still great time had by all – me included.
8.”Carols with Beer” is an interesting concept for a party and was more enjoyable than I expected. Interesting to see people not usually in church having their singing pipes loosened by a Party Seven.
9.It is essential to have a daughter who understands Doctor Who with you when you are trying to fathom out the final episode. (Still cried and DT isn’t even my favourite doctor)
10.Morecambe has few self esteem issues when it comes to making his feelings known about being asked to leave the setee.
Have a go at this Dog Whisperer!
Came across some puppy photos of complicated dog. Can it be that it was all so simple then?? Not so long ago we believed that all that was needed was some decent training and a firm hand then before you know it there’s tears at bedtime and a dog psychologist involved – I think we’ve all been there.
Some one said on the radio the other day that one of the things the advent of computers and email etc has brought is the loss of material, physical mementos. Hadn’t thought about it before but she might be right. I mean its nice to have all your photos logged carefully on your computer, taking up no space and all in alphabetical order etc. (At this point I am trying hard not to think of recent incident with daughter clicking on something that released horrific virus which corrupted half the stuff on our computer. What is wrong with these people who make up viruses? What for? Get a job or something!)Anyway – usually things are safely tucked away on the old hard drive but then I wonder. Will our kids ever know the joy of coming across an old shoe box and finding it full of photos of long forgotten holidays or baby’s first solid food or a time when I was impossibly thin and attractive (not overloaded in the last category but you get the idea)
It will seem as far in the distant past as rickets soon. My kids have no idea what you are talking about when you tell them about the sticker that used to come back on the photos saying “Quality Control” because you had taken the bloomin thing with your thumb over the lens. Nope, now all photos that do not reproduce the subject perfectly are deleted before they see the light of day.
Then there is email. I love email. I do. I use it all day at work. But is it the same as a card or a note? My bible is full of scraps of paper, cards and letters that people have sent me over the years. Little bits of encouragement – scriptures, poems, prophesy. maybe its just me but can’t remember the last time I printed up an email that had that sort of stuff in. And please don’t get me going about people posting “love ya loads darlin” on Facebook. Its not the same thing at all. OK?
I remember reading that Adrian Plass kept a record of all the various prayers for various people in long brown envelopes, then he could look back and see what things God had done.
I used to take notes in sermons so I could remember things. Haven’t done that for ages. Not since some woman preacher informed us that all serious Christians should be taking notes of what she had to say. My notebook goes straight back in my bag then unfortunately. Go and find someone else to boss around sweetheart. She wasn’t as good as she thought she was anyway I seem to remember.
Then there is the bible. My bible when I was a teenager is full of scribbles and notes and lines joining bits to other bits. I don’t pretend to understand it after all these years but it is great to look at it and feel the rush of how exciting it all was.
Maybe we are meant to be a bit more “physical” about things. Send letters, write cards, read books, take notes etc. Seem to have a vague recollection of CS Lewis saying that he prayed better on his knees because he was a physical creature and the physical act of worship reflected well on his spiritual life.Makes sense.
Thinking about getting a pencil to go in my bible. See if it helps.
Things I have learned this week..
Calvin and Hobbes is as fresh today as the first time I read it. It may well be God’s gift to a jaded world.
I am struggling to learn very deep and meaningful things. You maybe need to read Plato or something for that.
Good grief its windy here. I set off for work looking fairly normal and arrive looking like something from the tornado scene in Wizard of Oz.
It has been a strange week. Not much fun. Not a black time but definitely a sort of medium grey.
Lots of things giving me cause to pause. I’m still sometimes shocked by the way Christians treat one another. Don’t get me wrong. I am more than aware of my capability of being a nasty piece of work and that is before taking my thought life into account. But sometimes, I hear a story and..well..its disappointing. Isn’t anyone scared of God anymore? When I was being brought up in the olden days, I was told that the fear of God is the beginning of all wisdom which I took to mean that God was more than capable of smacking your backside if that’s what it took to make you see sense. (I understand you may have a problem finding a scripture to support that piece of theology but look hard – I’m sure its there. Try Ezekiel.)
What happened to gentleness? Considering others? Not bruising someone else’s faith? Now I hear its all about bigger picture thinking. Moving towards a grand vision for God. We all have to toughen up and get with the programme. You can’t make an omlette without breaking eggs. You can make lemonade out of lemons or something or other.I’m not so sure. I understand that people can be difficult. Some people are so high maintenance they are almost impossible to cope with sometimes (and for that I apologise) but I just think that if Jesus – whose vision was about dying to save us (which qualifies as quite a big vision I think) managed to achieve everything he set out to do without leaving a trail of bruised, disillusioned shells of people behind him….then surely his example is something we should at least have a go at?
I am old and I have seen Christians in action for many years. The stuff we never seems to learn includes..
1. Taking a deep breath and counting silently to five before I speak out some so-called advice.
2. When that voice in my head is screaming “Shut up!!” – trying to think that this may be God and even trying to do what He asks for a change.
3. If I am about to dispense some advice that will tear someone in half – it is very rarely “God speaking through me”
4. Sometimes I am getting on other people’s nerves almost as much as they are getting on mine so I should lighten up.
What I have learned this week…
I can knit! Well a bit. Finished my cushion and its not too offensive is it? I am still working on an angel for the Christmas Tree but am a bit concerned as her legs seem a bit too fat (not that there is any problem with fat legs!) but I’m having problems getting her dress to close round her thighs which as every woman knows, can be an all too distressing sign of a problem in the overeating department. I am working on it. (the angel – not my thighs)I may or may not post the results!
Think this may be the last summery looking photo this year -though actually it is colder than it looks. Trips to beach to walk small complicated dog are now restricted because of the lack of daylight and the frequent driving rain.
I try every year to muster enthusiasm for Autumn – if only to hold back the start of the Christmas Argos adverts (although they are quite funny this year) but its less about mists and mellow fruitfulness and more about drizzle that gets under your brolly and leaves you with wet trousers all day.
I have to report that my attempts to increase my spirituality, which were to start by reading a good Christian book, have been scuppered at the first hurdle. I am completely captivated at the moment by a rival for my reading affections. The brilliant Wolf Hall.
Its a sort of soap opera of Thomas Cromwell’s life but for clever dicks. I don’t mean I am and I don’t meant that in a bad way – it just makes you think a bit more and she writes so well that you keep stopping and thinking.
It does have a spiritual edge as well though. Christians burning for their faith. To be allowed to read the Bible in English was heresy and would cost you your life. Again, makes you think. Sometimes my faith wavers if I can’t find a parking space!
Anyway have actually bought a proper Christian book now. Eugene Peterson – Eat This Book and promise will report back. Eventually.
Lots of things occupying my little mind but chief among them is sleepover for 3 girls at our house tonight. (It was certainly my turn to have them but… well it will be fine – if a bit noisy) and also Steve Martin on Jools Holland playing the banjo. Bring it on!!
Things I have learnt…
Those of a nervous disposition please look away now.
I have learned that when you don’t put enough shells on your home made garden decoration that it can look a bit…well.. rude. Sorry.
Been musing and ruminating about some news found while looking for something else on the Internet (that’s how I find lots of interesting stuff – rarely have the good sense to find my way directly to what I need) I came across this article Am I the only person who finds this shocking? I mean this is my religion folks and I don’t seem to be supporting it. I understand that people get their information from lots of different places these days – TV, Internet blah blah-you know it all; but has it changed so much that an entire industry (outside of the USA at least) is going down the tubes?
When I was a teenager (and yes they did have TV then) I always had a Christian paperback on the go. I do read a lot, and always have a few books going at once but there was a time when at least one was always a Christian book. It could be lurking in my work bag for the bus, at the side of my bed or in the bathroom for “unexpected delays”(sorry, too much information).
Some of them were rubbish to be honest. In the main a book by a “big name” preacher could often be a disappointment (with a few honourable exceptions) But some of them were brilliant and are still on my bookshelves now. Well-thumbed copies with pencil scribblings (highlighters were no good; they go through to the next page!)and corners turned over. I learned about clarity and insight from CS Lewis, Grace from William Newell, suffering for your faith from Corrie Ten Boon and Jim Elliot and later about constructive questioning from Phillip Yancey and insightful humour from Adrian Plass (genius – don’t get me going)
I don’t want to be too sweeping about this and I know that not everyone likes to read but I don’t see that same culture now. Are we too swept up in the middle-class, green, sustainability, fair trading culture(and yes I know these are “good things” so put your eyebrows back down)to dig deep into our faith.
If I am a struggling Christian (and I am) is some of it because I don’t learn enough about my faith and what I believe? Possibly. Am I thoughtful enough? Probably not. So, in light of this, new discipline number one is to re-add Christian books to my usual books. So, I bought The Shack because everyone else seems to have read it. Unfortunately, this has gone horribly wrong because husband has stolen said book to read before I could and has said that he feels I would not cope well with the subject matter. (He could be right. I had to leave the cinema 15 mins into Mystic River because I could see a child was about to be abused)For what its worth he says the book is “interesting” and “unusual” so far and has only cried twice. Not much of a review I know.
So I will have to go and get something else to read and let you know how I get on.
With a view to developing a learning mentality I also wanted to include something I learnt every week. Something I didn’t know before that would help me grow. So……
This week I have learnt that..
I have been blessed with a dog who will never, ever, allow me to put a pearl necklace on him. Not as profound as I had hoped but there it is