Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Seasonal Blessings.

Somehow Monday seemed to come around too quickly, however with all the good stuff God has been showering on me I could not bear to let the week begin (even if it is on a Tuesday) without writing down some blessings.

670. Cosy bed, cosy duvet, cosy pillows, twisted and pummelled to be in just the right place for my aching body.
671. A book coming through the letterbox.
672. A thank you note that melted my heart.
673. The beginning of Advent, a time to stop, watch and wait.
674. Complete peace over unconsumerising Christmas this year.
675. The bread maker quietly working away in the kitchen.
676. Blustery winds trying to take the many remaining leaves from the trees.
677. My window cleaner asking after my mum.
678. The many children I am getting to speak to about Advent and God's promises.
679. Writing advent cards to our many God-children.

Happy Advent Season to you all x x x x x

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Just the tonic.

Now those of you that know me well - I am not talking about the sort of tonic that I like to have with my gin!!  Thank you so much for all your prayers over the last few days.  I have felt your support, it has got me through a very busy few days at work. 

I have ended up in bed this afternoon with a body that is very un-happy.  I have felt a flare of my rhematoid arthritis to be on the way all week and have just tried to ignore it.  It is amazing how with a bit of mind over matter this can actually work for a while.  However everything has it's limit and I am very thankful to God that he shows me mine before I completely crash.

So swallowing my pride I have taken to my bed, I have read a little, I have snoozed a little, I have felt sorry for myself a lot!  In the quietness though that Still Small Voice managed to pierce my wallowing.  I was reminded of a facebook chat that I had with a dear friend this week when I was at a very low ebb.  She had mentioned some youtube videos that she had been watching and found really helpful on her quest for a better self image.  This is a quest that we both share.  The person she mentioned was Joyce Meyer.  One of those names that seems to always ring a bell in Christian circles but I can never quite remember whether I have read any of her books or not.  I now know that I have never listened to her speak.

This lady speaks with such passion and this video especially (though all three parts are excellent) was just the tonic that I needed to hear this afternoon.   I have let my lovely husband metaphorically wash my feet this afternoon, something that I don't always find comfortable to do, however the pain killers are now kicking in.  I might even be able to get up before I go back to bed tonight!  If you have the time to listen to some of this ladies videos then I encourage you to do so.  The advertising gets a little tiresome, but the teaching is worth bearing with it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Spirtual Attacks.

I have had a really bad today, after a really fabulous evening last night with the volunteers who have come forward to help me with a children's activity day at church which is happening this coming Saturday.

My husband and I have had a really tough week communicating with each other after spending lots of time together working for Jesus last weekend.

As I am watching and participating in an amazing movement of God in our area,  my family (outside of the 4 of us) is falling apart.

I would really value some prayer from those of you who Believe.  I realise that some people might feel very uncomfortable reading this and may not even understand what I am writing.  However I think I may have been keeping quiet on this issue for too long.

So now I am shouting it out - it feels very self indulgent, but I know my Faith needs the support of fellow believers.  Many thanks x x x x x

Monday, 21 November 2011


I have been working abroad this weekend - doesn't that sound grand!  I was asked to go and do a children's group (with my hubby) for the Armed Forces Christian Union who were having a ladies weekend for military women and wives.  I was asked back in the summer and despite all recent events really felt the need to go and do this.  We were at Church House in Lubbeckke in Germany.  The sleeping accommodation was typical forces, though the building was old and had a very interesting history.  The food on the other hand was amazing, 3 cooked meals a day available, all eaten in a room designed by a naval architect, who had managed to make you feel as though you were in a ship!  Every morsel eaten with silver cutlery and deserts out of silver bowls - what decadence!  It turned out that there were only 5 children registered to come along and when we arrived this had shrunk to 4, a set of 8 year old twins and a 9 year old with a 4 year old sister.  Because of the number it was a very demanding time however meeting lots of lovely Christian ladies and spending good quality time with my husband was great. 

It was hard work to get out of bed this morning to get on with my real life jobs, at work and home, but continue with gratitude I will:

660. Central heating.
661. Sparkling stars on clear nights.
662. Happy children and therefore happy mums.
663. The opportunity to plant (spiritual) seeds.
664. The opportunity to water (spiritual) seedlings.
665. Watching children playing hide and seek.
666. Feeling Gods Spirit moving in and around me.
667. A lift to the airport.
668. Listening ears.
669. Sitting drinking coffee watching the world go by.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Back to Basics

It has been far too long since I wrote down any weekly blessings.  This is a practise that I have been doing since 5th January 2010 following the example of Ann Voskamp (click the link at the bottom of this post) - you can see that first post here.
My dear husband pointed out to me the other day that it was a long time since I had written any down.  How quickly our eyes can be distracted by life, so today I will start again to count my many blessings.

650. Opportunities to travel.
651. My lovely little car staying healthy!
652. Having a quick lunch in the car between jobs, but having the most amazing view.
653. Hugs from friends.
654. An evening to catch up on some favourite tv programmes.
655. Brilliant autumn colours in the middle of November.
656. My growing wave patterned crochetted blanket.
657. Time to gather promises from the bible.
658. Creative ideas swirling in my head.
659. My 10 year old girl's growing sense of humour and the laughter that it brings.

I am so pleased to be able to get these down.  It does help to try and keep our woes in context.  There are amazing things happening as well.  Work is providing me with the opportunity to get immersed in some really fun activities - maybe I might actually get round to blogging about some of those over on my work blog!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sorting out Emotions.

There has been so much going on in our household which has caused all of our emotions to be all over the place.  This morning I finally got the chance to sit down with my 10 year old daughter (well lie actually, I was still in bed)!

When you are struggling as an adult to cope with your own emotions it is so easy to overlook the emotions of those you love most.  They do not yet have the maturity to choose a way of letting you know this either.  As adults we can express overload even if it is not in the most helpful way, however at 10 years old life experiences have not yet given you the ability to recognise when you are overloaded.

I had noticed this with my daughter a few days ago.  One of her friends had chosen to do something really amazing for a charity close to her heart - her "Daddy in Heaven" (she was only 3 months old when he died),  had died from cancer.  She is at that stage in her life (she is nine years old) where she is starting to realise that she missed out on knowing who this person was (her older brother does have some memories).  My daughter knew that her friend doing this was stirring uncomfortable feelings inside her.

I saw this acted out by her not particularly wanting to talk about what her friend was doing, getting cross that she had been asked by another friend to sponsor when as a family we already had and then not wanting to look at the photos of the event happening.

She was feeling bad as the only emotion she could recognise was jealousy and yet she did not want to feel jealous.  As we chatted it became very apparent that she did not particularly feel the need to raise money for charity.  She understands well that we sponsor a child and 'give' regularly not just on a monthly basis but also on special occasions like Christmas when we only give very small pressies to each other but shop from places like 'Oxfam Unwrapped' for folks we don't know personally.

We then got on to talking about what it would be like to not have a daddy, which inevitably brought us into a conversation about my niece who lived with us for two years.  Her daddy has clearly shown he does not love her and is probably the main reason why she is now in a secure adolescence unit.  This part of the conversation inevitably brought up sadness for my daughter thinking of all the losses she has suffered in the last three years, her aunty dying, her grandpa dying, her grandma's sanity and her cousin leaving us and my poor health.  She was able to express how jealous she felt of her friends who were not going through the things she is  - a feeling I was able to share with her that I get too!

She did not need any reassurances other than acknowledgement that she was having to cope with an awful lot at the moment and yes on the surface it did seem that none of her friends were.  It was a good feeling when she was however able to identify what trials some of her friends were facing - especially the divorce of parents  something that she could not and does not want to imagine having to face.

That was probably the most productive 30 minutes we have spent together in a while, I know it has not 'solved' everything for her, but it is good to see her bouncy self back again this morning.

Friday, 11 November 2011


If it hadn't been for the second world war I would not exist. 

I say that with no pride, no self pity, just a fact.  There is never a day goes by without me Remembering the sacrifices that many innocent people had to make in the past during times of war.  However it also means I have to continually remember the unwise choices that some made under the circumstances of war that they were involved.

So how can this be?  My mum was conceived by a very young German woman falling in love with an English soldier in 1946 when they were still present in Germany.  She is a War Baby.  His posting ended and he returned to England and no proper contact was ever made again, even when my mum was then "orphaned" by the death of her mother when she was 6 years old.

The ravages and fall out of war reach into every single area of life.  And in every place that these ravages touch, death of some kind is brought about.

There are/were thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of War Babies.  Children brought into a world struggling for peace, in many places bringing with them shame and damage that will last a life time.

In forty minutes time I will take special time out not only to be remembering the sacrifices that thousands of men made, I will be remembering the thousands more lives that were damaged forever by the action of war.  This will then turn my thoughts back to the present and give me the determination to play any part I can in making my voice heard to bring the Peace which passes all understanding into my world.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Standing Firm

               Photo taken by my 10 year old daughter in Barcelona 2 weeks ago.

The turmoil still rages around me and my family this week.  Dad's sudden death 4 weeks ago tomorrow seems to have been pushed away in my thoughts as meetings have taken place this week both for my niece and for my mum.

My niece is now under a court order to be retained in a secure unit for adolescents.  It's an unusual step for the authorities to take but as she is not classed as having a mental illness (she is just very damaged by her upbringing) it is the only way they can keep her safe.  Outside of being secure she is very likely to continue running away from any residence she is placed in and self harming to the extent that she needs hospital treatment.  My husband and I are now the only people that she has contact with and she is using the power that gives her.  This week we travelled over 2 hours to go and see her and whilst she allowed us to be in one meeting, the more important one she chose to not have us present.  This hurts, though I realise we were the only people not being paid to be at the meeting and the only people she could really exclude.  I am now praying over the next steps to take, she hasn't called us since that meeting whereas she had been calling every night up until then for a couple of weeks.

My mum is still in the throws of her nervous breakdown, she is hallucinating and very very paranoid.  It is very difficult to cope with visiting her, seeing her being really nasty to the staff trying to help her.  She has been in hospital for almost a week now and it is going to take some time for the medication to start working for her.  

But there has been moments of light as well.  My wonderful husband took myself and a great friend to a music concert the other night.  This was made even more special my the artist (Thomas Dolby) coming into the small independent restaurant that we were eating in to eat himself before the show.  And yes husband did have to go and have a few words :o).  I have had contact from some lovely friends and extended family that I haven't been in touch with for a very very long time.  Knowing so many people at church as well as my friends and family are praying is really helping.

One conversation I had with my Fairy Godmother (also known as my Christian mum as she has nursed and nourished me with scripture since I first became a Christian) told me to look at 2 Chronicles 20 during our conversation.  Particularly these verses:

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

It is an amazing thing that I have been looking at promises in the bible for a craft project and a work activity day that I am preparing for.  This has taken me into the theology of looking at the promises made in the Bible for ALL people and those that were given to specific people.  However it made me realise through the conversation I had which brought up these verses that God still wants us to listen and learn from the promises that he has made to other people.

So these words that were given to King Jehosphapat are remaining my comfort this week.  They are keeping me going, standing firm.  It is so very reassuring that by doing nothing other than my ordinary stuff I may just see the deliverance of the Lord as Jehosphapat did.  I can only pray that I don't continue to fall like he did as well!

Friday, 4 November 2011

The versatile Blogger Award

I won an award!!!!!!!!!

The lovely Ray over at Daydreamer awarded me this:

Thank you!

I'm pleased to hear that my blog comes across as trying to stay positive against a tide of problems, it certainly does not always feel that way - and oh what Joy I will have when the tide recedes!

Now as I understand it, I have to tell you 5 quirky facts about myself and then nominate 5 more bloggers - 5 quirky facts, now there is a challenge, as I have so many!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. In my first job as an office junior when I was 17, if I got all my office work done I was allowed to go and 'play' with the plastic bag making machines!
  2. I have sat in the jump seat in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet coming in to land at Los Angeles airport - very scary.
  3. I have travelled across the Atlantic to Boston, to meet a fellow blogger for the first time this January.
  4. I have to have certain cups for certain drinks at certain times of the day!  15 years on my husband is finally starting to get the hang of it.
  5. I once bumped into Robson Green (an English actor) when he was doing some filming at the hospital where I worked as he was on his way to a break, I couldn't resist saying 'that's looks nasty' to his 'blood' splatted bandaged head and body.
And my five blogs nominated to receive this award.

  1. Navigating By The Stars - the blog that got me started blogging in the first place.  Gaynor is a fab friend and an inspired home-schooler.
  2. 10 Minute Writer - the Boston based home-schooling, novel writing, amazing Christian witness, very funny and creative mother of five gorgeous offspring.
  3. Dutch Sisters - A blog that inspires my creativity and gets me starting projects before I have finished the last one :o).
  4. Holy Experience - A truly God inspired Blog - what more can I say.
  5. Scraps of Starlight - Another creative and God inspired blog with beautiful photographs and simple creative things to do with children.

I could list so many more, but will restrain myself for now, I love this blog world x.