Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Designing and Creating on a Purchased T-shirt.

1. Take one fairtrade cotton white t-shirt from Marks and Spencers £6.00 for a pack of 3.
2. Purchase one tub of dye £2.99
3. Weigh t-shirt to find out if you can dye two at a time.

4.  Turns out I could so into the cold dye they go.

 5.  Once dying is finished, cut out some squares using old clothing, enough to spell the word you are going to do - I decided on AWESOME
6. Some letters I did with ribbon. and stitching.
7. Other letters, I used bond a web to cut out and stick some red fabric cut out letters which I then embroidered around.  The remaining ones I did using embroidery thread only.
8.  Choosing which way to put the letters took a bit of help from my hubby.

9. The final design chosen was a tick.  After bond-a-webbing the squares onto the t-shirt, I crossed stitched around the whole lot.
 10. I am pleased to report that my 11 year old son loved it when he received it for Christmas.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

When God Moves You on.

The trauma that we have faced as a family the last couple of years since my sister died, has totally eclipsed what had been happening the previous couple of years.  I have been reminded of these events this week and wondered if blogging about it might help me to see if there is any clarity on an issue which was deeply wounding and painful when it happened.

When we were first house hunting in the south of England back in 2002 we had a huge area to choose from.  We marked places in an AtoZ that looked nice where there were reasonable looking schools and churches.  When we first pulled into where we now call home it was the school and the church that we found before we found our house.  In fact we could not afford the houses that were in this area, they were all at least £10,000 more than what we were budgeting and it would have meant accepting something smaller than we had already.  Then we were shown the house that is now our home.  It needed a lot of updating and had been on the market for over a year and the sellers were desperate to sell.  Because of this we were able to strike a very good deal and got the house!  The way all this happened made us feel very secure that God was in control.  There were just far to many co-incidences for it to be anything but the RIGHT way to go.

We settled very quickly, threw ourselves into our local community including the church and made some friends that I pray will be friends for life.  There were things that were not great, we often felt very unsupported by the leadership at the church, though they were always very willing for us to come up with ideas and let us get on with them.  This is where my ministry for children began to grow, I was soon co-ordinating all the children's work, from the creche to Junior Church, holiday clubs, craft groups and special services.  I loved it all, there were times when I was brought up short - where I felt my ministry was far more important than anything else (including my husband and children - silly girl that I was).  However this ministry grew and we really enjoyed doing things like the Holiday Clubs together.

I began to feel that it was turning into something more than a volunteer should be doing.  I spoke with some very wise Christians who supported this growing feeling that I had.  I was very aware that I was going to have to go back to paid employment at some point and yet felt terrible at the thought of having to stop all the ministry that I was involved in and could not identify anybody/people to take on some of the roles.   I spoke with our minister about this and he encouraged me to write a report for the church council.

In good faith this is what I did, putting forward a suggestion that they might want to start thinking about whether it would be appropriate to employ someone in the post I had been doing (not necessarily me!).  This was where everything started to fall apart.  The church wardens wrote to me suggesting that I leave my role and that they would not be bringing forward the suggestion to the church council that a paid position should be considered.  I was completely floored by this.  I had expected to perhaps need to have a conversation with them to clarify what was in the report, so this came as a total shock.  I felt accused of trying to make a job for myself and was dumbfounded by having people refuse to discuss things with me.

In a very short space of time I found myself forced to hand in my resignation, we also lost the worshipping community that we had belonged to and had to leave our and our children's friends behind.  We did try a few times to go back, however bad feeling remained and we did not feel at all welcome by certain folk.  Work wise I very quickly found paid employment with the our local council, working with children under 5 with special needs.  It was a maternity cover post so I knew it would most likely end after 9 months, but it was perfect hours and I thoroughly enjoyed it.


I was once told by a very wise minister that the best 'ministries' you could be involved in were those that you could set up and then leave without them falling apart.  I am happy to see that the two ministries that I set up from scratch for younger children in our previous parish are still going, 4 years after me leaving them.  Others that I had been involved in (though not set up) have shrunk.  I still do not fully understand why all that happened did happen.

I did go to a workshop recently where we discussed where Jesus sometimes trod softly when things needed to change and sometimes strode in boldly.  Is this what we were being asked to do?  Or did we in our own strength go in with size 10 shoes on when ballet shoes were required?  I am quite content now to leave the wrestling over this alone.  Our family life requires this.  Do I mourn for our old church and the old job - yes - especially at times like Christmas and every time we have to get in the car to go to our present one.  I can even still have times of great regret, however I do still feel God is with me and with the work that I do and so I have to be content that I am where he wants me to be.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Retooning the Nativity

This one is even better for those who question the 'traditional' way that the nativity is told these days.

The Christmas Story (HD version)

Another video that I have really enjoyed this week:

THE DIGITAL STORY OF NATIVITY - ( or Christmas 2.0 )

I love facebook - I don't know how people find these things, just friends of friends passing them on I suppose, it is superby when you come across things like this though:

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Dear Sis - letter number one (I have a feeling there might be more).

I can't believe it is more than 2 years since we last had a conversation.  I know we communicated a tiny bit while you were in hospital those last 3 weeks before you died, but I have to admit that it wasn't really much of a conversation!

I have just been reading Dawn French's book 'Dear Fatty' in which she writes letters to all the people who she feels have played a major part in her life.  Lots of them are to her Dad who died when she was 18, which got me thinking maybe that would be a good way to try and get my thoughts down for you - and for your daughter.

'A' lasted for 6 months at Mum and Dads after you left us (sorry that is just how it feels sometimes, but I realise that this makes it sound as though you chose it and I don't know whether you did or not).  I know it was all part of the hurting process that she was going through but she really did make her point in very dramatic style!  I also think her then new school made a lot of mistakes, with no-one having a clue how to help a child like her.  I can see you raising your eyebrows at that - how many times did you face people who didn't have a clue!

Do you feel cheated dying just at a point where you were starting to do things (like walk!) after so many years of being able to do nothing? If there is one thing that I get very angry about for you it is that.  Maybe I just like the way it made me feel after all those years of moaning at you telling you to get a grip on the life you still had.  I wonder how you feel now about those dark times - do you remember them at all?

I wish I knew how much of those three weeks in hospital you are aware of.  I have still not been able to talk to our brother about it, I know he was the last one to have a conversation with you even though you were in a bit of a delirious state, I know you must have been reasonably with it, as I'm told you told him you were not afraid of dying.  I find that a bit hard to stomach really, surely you didn't want to leave A?  Or did you just know that you were not going to be able to give her what she was going to need through those demanding teenage years?  I'm not sure whether I feel proud of you if it's the latter for honesty or cross with you for thinking anyone else was going to be able to do it!  I most certainly don't feel as though I am doing a very good job at the moment.  Whatever, it's happened now and maybe I am just jealous that he was close by enough to be able to help and have that conversation and I wasn't.

Poor mum is struggling, I think the unresolved grief she had for her mother dying when she was so young, has prevented her from mourning you yet.  Dad soldiers on, I still don't fully understand him, I do know though that he is totally devoted to mum and for that I am grateful.  Just after the first anniversary of your demise he managed to go and have a stroke that certainly came out of no where just like your  ruptured bowel!  He was very fortunate to get to the specialist unit near them where he was scanned and on clot busters within an hour of it all happening.  It has aged him though, he looks more like Grandpa now, I don't suppose you would remember him to well as I only just do.  It's quite shocking to see someone go from looking early 60's as he was to in his 80's in a couple of weeks.  That reminds me - were you aware of how many grey hairs you had?  Maybe they only arrived in the time you were in intensive care, I certainly remember how it started to fall out in that last couple of weeks.

Well I am going to have to sign off for now, the children have had their tea but it baths and showers for all three tonight.  Tuesday is the only night of the week when none of them are out at something!

Love you more J x.

Monday, 6 December 2010

Wintery Blessings.

It has been a strange old week, temperatures suddenly plummeting and having escaped the snow the first part of the week, 5 inches of it landed during the night on Wednesday, for us to see on Thursday morning.

I didn't leave the house to go in my car until this morning, having had a warmer day yesterday which got rid of the majority of it.  I do like unexpected things happening though - it reminds me to be grateful for every hour of every day.

319. The delight of seeing my puppy dog playing in the snow.

320. Photos and video of the children sledging when my joints are to sore to dare going out to watch.

321. A fantastic time with new friends having a meal and playing games with the children.
322. Christmas cards made in an afternoon.
323. Good times at work.
324. A cold that has almost gone now.
325. Eldest doing her first concert with the Boys Brigade Brass Band at a Christmas event.
326. Our family doing the prayers at church on Sunday.
327. Ordering new double glazing for the house - a luxury we have longed to do.
328. A cup of tea made by my son.
329. Birthday cards for December and a present made.

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Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Vegetarian Christmas Food

For the last couple of years Christmas has been a bit different from how we have usually done things.  This year I am trying to get back on track.  I have been reminded by two friends in the last couple of days of my 'Christmas Pie' recipe.  This has been one of the things I haven't done, fishing out the recipe to scan in for my friends (once you have tasted this pie you never forget it), I was reminded that it tastes even better when it has been made and frozen.  It is a recipe that I have been using since the first year we got married 14 years ago, I used to get the BBC Vegetarian magazine on subscription which is where I first saw it.  One task I intend to try and get on with in the next week, is to make a good batch of this, the bonus will be that it fills the house with that Christmassy smell :o).