When I was at primary school, every week we were visited by a vicar. He was a decent enough bloke although he often seemed to be in the middle of some kind of spiritual crisis which he felt  compelled to share with us. It may well have helped him to share but I do remember that he often left a class full of ten year olds feeling slightly bemused and a little depressed. Well, come on. At that age you want to be counting the animals as they go into the ark, not wondering why God allows pain and suffering.
Anyway, one thing he said did leave an impression on me. He asked what everyone who wasn’t a Christian had that Christians didn’t have. (keep up) and the answer was “Limits”. See what he did there?  I have to admit, that the idea that there are no limits for me as a Christian is an attractive one and there are loads of scriptures that back this up. However, I do think we have to be careful not to set ourselves up as a super duper achievement machine sort of visualising ourselves moving onwards and upwards in life while singing “Ain’t no mountain high enough” and being generally impressed with ourselves. Obviously our power to achieve anything comes from God and we need to get our priorities right.
The thing is though, I’m beginning to wonder if there are limits sometimes. Are there times to stop and accept that we need to slow down. Do we have to accept that we can reach a point where we have quite simply had enough. Someone said to me recently that sometimes people don’t think before they speak to me because I am such a good coper (is that a word? I mean good at coping) that they always felt I could take anything that was thrown at me. Er No.
Been thinking about Elijah’s hissy fit. After having been party to a massive miracle, which changed the direction of a whole country, it only took one woman waving a bony fist at him to make him collapse in a heap. Why was that do you think? Maybe he had reached his limit. It looks to me as if God thought so. God’s response was more or less to tell him to get some food and some rest and they would talk properly later.
Maybe there comes a time in life when we have to say enough. Limit reached. I have to stop for a while now. The photo at the top shows that when my Morecambe needs a rest he takes one and don’t interrupt if you know whats good for you. I am aware that at 10am in the middle of a staff meeting you can’t always get your head down on the desk but as soon as its practical maybe I need to notice my limits and take some action. As my mother would say – no one else is going to do it for you!

WHAT! Boots have got their three for two Christmas gifts out. You have absolutely, completely, totally got to be kidding me!! September 15th! Has the world gone mad? ARRRGH.

Come on. Admit it. I can’t be the only Christian who is intimidated by all the scientists with letters after their name shouting about how there is no God and they an jolly well prove it because the sum square of the genome string theory proves blah blah blah….
As I think I have said before. Why so aggressive? You believe what you believe and I’ll believe what I believe and then when I’m proved right you’ll have to apologise. Seems reasonable enough to me. But they all seem so sure and so certain and although I know that faith isn’t provable by facts I also know I don’t have the brains to win an intellectual argument.
Anyway found a letter in the Times on Saturday. Try not to put dosh into Murdoch coffers but cannot give up Caitlin Moran – sorry can’t, so have to buy The Times on Saturdays. Back to letters. Found letter by Dr DR Alexander, who has lots and lots of qualifications and is Director of Faraday Institute at St Edmund’s College Cambridge no less. The gist of his letter says that Dawkins etc. are talking about the “God of the Gaps”. As I understand it, atheists say that when new scientific discoveries about creation come to light, that this means that God is diminished. BUT Alexander says that this is not our God because our God is bigger than all the gaps in science and all the gaps only exist under him. So science explains how the earth exists but theology explains its meaning.
Basically – science’s God is too small. Blah-so rubbish at explaining this but hope you get it. It helped me.

Anyway, on a more mundane note. Younger members of Hargreaves Dynasty are now back at school. Only to find that looming cuts mean that students’ bus subsidy has been withdrawn . Apart from the fact that it is now costing us nearly £100 per month to get sprogs to school on the bus (Trying to be green and use sustainable transport is costing us a fortune!) I don’t think the Tories realise how difficult it has been to keep eldest from joining the Communist party and this isn’t helping.

Just letting you know that my friend hit 50 this month and texted us to say that she was on her way up Snowden with her husband to celebrate. I cannot for the life of me think why she would want to do something like that but there you go. Congratulations anyway chum.

So, head of house and my good self are back at work. Offspring are not back at school yet but all the telltale signs are there signalling the end of this year’s summer break.
You know summer is ending when…
1. The kids are back from summer camp and the back room has that funny “damp clothes, damp sleeping bags and sopping wet trainers” smell, as you try to work your way through the suitcases that they have kindly returned to you. Still, can’t all be bad news as questions such as “Was the weather awful?” are met with a puzzled look as if the weather was totally inconsequential.
2. Its getting warmer. Most people are back from their holidays. People who spent the last fortnight holidaying in Devon and Cornwall in what might optimistically be called “changeable” weather have now returned home, vowing to save up to go abroad next year. What they will never know is that as soon as they leave, the sun comes out. What’s that about?

3. The uniform rush is on. All good intentions to buy uniform at the beginning of the holidays evaporated in the glow of summer. Now we must join the hoards of people buying shirts in two packs of three (six shirts – why not five? Rip off perchance?) At least mine are too old for the seventh circle of hell that is queuing to have their feet measured in the shoe shop.

4. The house if full of resolutions about making lunch instead of buying it, walking instead of using the car everywhere, keeping up to date with homework, not agreeing to play bass at every single church meeting. Usual rubbish.

5. My mum is finalising arrangements for coming to stay at Christmas.

Like I said. All certain signs that summer is drawing to a close. We were out walking this week and other half took a photo of this cloud. Made me think about the cloud that God sent to tell Elijah that the drought was about to end. Not much of a sign when you are looking for a flood I suppose but it was a sign nonetheless. And a flood was indeed on the way. Perhaps its like life. Not all signs are impressive but they are still signs. And if God has sent you a sign that help is on the way then it just might well be.

Just back at work after two weeks leave. Is there something that happens in the space time continuum that makes this fortnight go ten times quicker than the other 50? There may be something about it in Revelation. I might look it up and get back to you. Possibly.

Anyway, packed hound off to kennels, teenagers into back of car with Ipods (not a peep from them until they spot a motorway service station with MacDonalds) and off we trundled to visit the north – the land of our birth.

Having once again imposed ourselves on some old friends for the week, we then set about “doing the visiting”. This is a delicate operation, only to be undertaken with extreme care. The balance has to be completely right, splitting time between those you want to see and those you are expected to see. There is then a sub division in each of these categories of who we want to see and who the children want to see. (People can often be moved from one category to another as far as the children are concerned if there is any chance that they will be given money) Even with the best will in the world and detailed planning on a napkin in afore mentioned fast food restaurant we still end up not getting round to everyone.

However, we managed a visit to our old church this time. Didn’t think we would know many people but were really touched by the warmth of the welcome. So many people remembered us, which was lovely. And we remembered – well nearly everyone who remembered us so that was nice. Our presence was announced from the front stage which, to be honest is always an awkward moment as you don’t know whether to smile shyly, or wave a bit or stand up and blow kisses. In the end you sort of do a bit of all three which makes it look as if you are standing up to shake off a bad attack of cramp so not a good look.

The best part is seeing people and then see their faces light up as the remember and recognise you. Made me wonder if it was like Heaven. Will we be wandering around looking at faces and suddenly recognising someone we love. And will our faces light up with the joy of spending time together again? How cool would that be?

Anyway back in Devon now (to warmer, dryer weather) and glad to be home. However, couple of things to deal with.

Have managed to pick fight with man who installed phones at work. They aren’t working properly and haven’t done so since installed and when I complained he said I was attacking his staff with venom! Me? Superwimp? Even the people in the office with me said they thought I was too soft. Have to work out how to deal with this now. No good going off in sulk like I usually do. That will never get the phones fixed. (Please do not send in advice about other cheeks, etc. Unfortunately I am too mad and immature to take it at the moment)

Also, am part of communications team at church producing material for website supporting series on Seven Deadly Sins. In weak moment agreed to do “lust”! What was I thinking of? Where will I get info for this? Can you imagine what would come up if I Googled it?

Here at Hargreaves Towers, many things too numerous to mention, clamour for attention in the day to day war of attrition we like to call “family”. When our children were young, they thought as we did – because we told them to and what we liked – they liked because we were their heroes. Those times have long passed and now, when being allowed to go out with them in public is a bonus (unless, of course, we are on our way to the cash machine) things are very different. One ongoing bone of contention is church worship. Last Sunday we had what is now termed an “animated discussion” about son’s failure to sing to a certain hymn. His reply – that he couldn’t see the point of repeating “16th century irrelevant phrases ” made me think a bit about Christian music.
I am a hymn fan. My wedding was full of ’em. That was in the days before weddings were full of Disney songs and Witney Houston. (Least favourite wedding opening. Bride entering to “Can you feel the love tonight?” from the Lion King. Bit of an awkward moment.) Yep,Fanny Crosby, HF Lyte and Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you Chas Wesley. I love it. But. I’m kind of thinking that they work best in their context. I don’t mean we shouldn’t sing them. Just that they should be sung how they were written. I think Amazing Grace works better without a drum’n’bass track. And maybe “When I Survey” can live without a sixties style melody to “appeal to the young people”.

In the same way songs written by Tim Hughes or Matt Redman with a loud guitar riff needs to retain that. I’m never sure about singing these songs sort of toned down for an older audience. You know the kind of thing “Oh happy day! (cue drum cymbals – chink a chink,chink a chink) Happy Day (chink a chink) You washed my sins away! (ker chink!) Even someone like me who hasn’t jumped up vertically with both feet off the ground since Steve Coppell was scoring from outside the penalty box in 1976 appreciates that these songs work best played so that people can jump, clap, wave and all that jazz. Thinking that maybe we should mix and match a bit. Sing each others stuff generously as it was meant to be sung and put a bit of effort in. Its not all about you you know!