Wednesday, 30 December 2009
Monday, 28 December 2009
For a little time now I have been wanting to change the title of my blog, this last year has been a year of finding myself. I have to say, I think I might have jolly well done so! therefore having the title trying to find me just no longer feels appropriate, hence my new title 'Trying to be Me'.
Now I have no idea if this is going to mess folks google readers up or not, if it has then I apologise - though you may not know that I am doing so!
So as I continue to enjoy this Christmas time, and look forward to a new year (and my blog anniversary) I feel like a little change and hope you might come along for the ride.
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
The culmination of emotions hit a low on Saturday evening and I ended up going to bed at 8.30pm. This did give me time to think and pray about how we could move on the following morning. The idea that came into my head was to go to a little place that I know in the New Forest. It is only a 20 minute car ride from our house it is a little off the normal touristy stopping bits, it used to be an old airfield. When you finally get to the car park this is the sight that greats you:
It is one of those places that I had always wanted to take my sister to, as she was an avid bird watcher and we have been with friends and had tiny birds come and eat from our hands at this point. Just me, my niece and my mum and dad went armed with a big tin of bird seed. It was just perfect. We all found some space.
Wednesday, 16 December 2009
Of course since the children have come along there have been lots and lots of homemade decorations made, these are two different angels that I got all the children in our Junior church making many years ago.
Friday, 11 December 2009
Friday, 4 December 2009
I have been feeling rather tongue tied for the last month or so really as I made a decision back at the end of October which has put life into a rather different light. Trying to return to work as a children and youth Pastor for our local Parish did not work. I am mentally and physically still quite a wreck. I know the time of year has not helped with it being the first anniversary of my sisters death, but my knees are still bad and are causing more difficulties to occur in my ankles and my back. Taking on my sisters 12 year old has also been far more challenging than I could ever have imagined. She is dyslexic and is currently being assessed for ADD (attention deficit disorder) which she may need medication for, this on top of her obvious emotional difficulties following the death of her mother! So I approached our church wardens and requested 6 months unpaid leave, if they hadn't been happy to grant this then I would have handed in my resignation.
Having work on top of all these other issues was just too much. It is a horrible feeling to be constantly feeling like I was failing in all areas. It felt so unfair on the people of our parish who pay my wages for me not doing the job. Overnight I felt God reminding me that he wanted to grant my heart desire (Psalm 37:4). That threw up another question to me - what was my hearts desire? After much prayer and searching I realised that what I wanted most of all was to feel as though I was doing something well! It was obvious that I could not do my job well and help my family well at the same time. So the decision was made to make the request that I did to our wardens (this is because I church has been in an interregnum all year so I have not really had a boss!). Fortunately they jumped at the opportunity of me NOT resigning and so I am now officially on unpaid leave!
The relief that I have had since doing this, though it is going to make our finances extremely tight, has been immense. Maybe what I shall do in the weeks to come is make a (small) list of things that I would like to also achieve in this time! In the mean time, it feels like the family is already coping better (or I am with it!). I am really looking forward to enjoying this advent season and quite excited about Christmas this year. Blessings to you all, love Jane x.
Friday, 27 November 2009
Wednesday, 18 November 2009
"The power of finding beauty in the humblest things makes home happy and life lovely." Louisa May Alcott.
I am familiar with phrases such as - "something good will come out of this", phrases that when you are hurting often feel very trite. However I have found the experience of looking at physical objects that do not have any obvious beauty, has brought me amazing peace. We had a bit of a storm a few weeks ago and as a result my husband cut down the last of the children's sunflowers so that it didn't get wrecked outside and we could at least enjoy its last days in our home.
This has become the focus and reminder of "redemptive beauty", as you will see it is looking rather sorry for itself now:
However when I look at this, I can marvel at Gods creation. Now that the petals are starting to fall I can see with greater clarity the new seeds which are still growing and drying in the flowers heart. This is surely redemptive beauty, a beauty that is willing to pass on it's looks, to sacrifice it's very being in order to produce seed, new seeds that can be planted.
Seeing this process makes me feel willing to wade through all the rubbish that I am surrounded by at the moment. Every time I glance at this I am reminded of the redemptive beauty of the Cross. This brings me to a place of unending gratitude. This is where I need to come when I feel the rubbish around me closing in. I am free, I have been made a new creation, I am with my Father in Heaven for all of eternity, only because of the the ugliness that Jesus went through for me.
That does not mean that I can take down my guard though. I woke up in the night last night (not an unusual thing at the moment), I felt compelled to pray the Lords Prayer. So I started, and re-started and felt absolutely devastated to suddenly realise that I could not remember it all, odd lines kept swimming around in my head but not the whole thing. Fortunately I keep a bible next to my bed, and inside this particular one I have a beautiful sheet which expresses the Lords Prayer through sign language. My little reading torch came on and I read it over and over again, in my minds eye doing all the actions, until at last I could close my eyes and recite it once again. I can often be awake for hours, mulling over all the rubbish that surrounds me, on this occasion though I was able to close my eyes and drift off back to sleep in the complete comfort of this prayer.
So my guard is still up, my sunflower is still drooping, but I think it will stay there just a little longer while the rubbish around me still lingers and I will continue to ponder on "redemptive beauty" some more.
Friday, 13 November 2009
As I alluded to yesterday in this post my life is a very windy (as in winding a clock not as in having excess gas to get rid of!) road at the moment. I am praying for God to make my paths straight (Proverbs 3:5-6). Now I do know that this is not going to happen without some hard work by myself. I am also aware that I do not have a lot of energy at the moment, but I do have some time (will be able to explain that by this time next week I hope).
This morning while reading Scripture Unions Word Live notes I was really struck by the following:
It is very easy to disrupt the beauty of fellowship. Here’s a list of some ways to do it:
● negative criticism
● an unforgiving spirit
● a ‘root of bitterness’ (Hebrews 12:15)
● failure to appreciate others
(Adapted from Bruce Milne, The Message of John, BST; IVP, 1993)
Reading through this list I can see points that I do (or have) as well as plenty that I have done to me. Now the only way I feel I can deal with the circumstances of people doing the above stuff to me is by withdrawing away from them, that I have tried to do already. But I am making a commitment today to make beautiful fellowship a priority in my life again, I shall try and do it by repeatedly bringing it in prayer to God as well as regularly looking back on this post to try and improve in the areas that I need to.
Thursday, 12 November 2009
Tuesday, 10 November 2009
That is until I heard them talking about going to see Jane Austens house in Chawton (about 40 minutes away from us). You can visit their website here. We really did have the most amazing few hours.
It was lovely to be looking around without the children there - that sounds terrible doesn't it? I would love to go around again now (and I will do), taking my youngest, having read all the information on this first visit I know that I would be able to help her investigate her own interests.
It is years since I have read any of Jane Austens work, but now, having seen where much of it was written and knowing so much more about her life it has definitely inspired me to go back to her writings. There were so many personal letters and gifts on display that talk or show things that were put into books.
Being in the actual rooms, standing next to the actual table that she wrote on, touched me very deeply. After looking around the house we went for a short walk to the village church where her sister and mother are buried. Walking those steps knowing this was the same journey she herself would have made to the church was just awesome. I had never realised before what sort of a life my name sake had had, especially her dying so young (41 almost my age). We do all have a short time on earth, I am very thankful that Jane Austen left such a wonderful gift in her writing for us to cherish generations down the line.
We also visited Cassandras Cup, for lunch which was absolutely exquisite, decorated with beautiful china tea cups and with a menu that made me feel quite giddy. We enjoyed this so much that noticing that they do Christmas lunches in December my husband and I have booked ourselves in - there were very few places available, so it obviously does have a tremendous reputation. What's more we did notice they have a B&B there, maybe we will have to try and have a hide-away there some time.
So anyone now coming to visit us is going to be encouraged to go along, it may not have inspired my writing too much but boy it has so enticed my creativity I am almost fit to burst.
If you do visit the site, why not look at their blog - it looks quite interesting, I didn't find out too much about their resident writer, Rebecca Smith, though her recently published novel looks very intriguing. You can find out more about her from here.
A PRAYER BY JANE AUSTEN
Give us grace almighty father, so to pray, as to deserve to be heard, to address thee with our hearts, as with our lips. Thou art everywhere present, from thee no secret can be hid. May the knowledge of this, teach us to fix our thoughts on thee, with reverence and devotion that we pray not in vain.
May we now, and on each return of night, consider how the past day has been spent by us, what have been our prevailing thoughts, words and actions during it, and how far we can acquit ourselves of evil.
Give us a thankful sense of the blessings in which we live, of the many comforts of our lot; that we may not deserve to lose them by discontent or indifference. Hear us almighty God, for his sake who has redeemed us, and taught us thus to pray.
Sunday, 8 November 2009
Wednesday, 4 November 2009
If you have time (it's about 8 minutes), I would highly recommend listening to the above video regarding cross centred worship.
There were two points that really struck me about this:
1. We cannot speak to God without Jesus. Now I know I have known this for quite some time however suddenly being reminded about this, this morning has blown me away. How easy it has been for me to just chatter on to God about this and that. Can I actually imagine that without Jesus dying on the cross for my sins I could never have done this.
2. I really need to stop listening and start talking to myself! I think I have done an awful lot of listening this last year or so, to myself and to others, most of it out of necessity. However what is said at the end of this video about not listening to yourself but talking the gospel to yourself instead is just so true. When we listen to just ourselves we listen to our sin full self as well as our spiritual self. When I listen to others I try and talk the Gospel back to them, even though this is not always what they want to hear, however, do I ever do that back to myself? The answer for me is most definitely, not often enough.
So today I am hoping to feel a bit more invigorated by remembering every time I think/speak about/to God it is only because of Jesus. And I shall try and talk (and maybe even sing) the Word of God into my very being.
Friday, 30 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
I had my corsa from new (my first ever new car) after I had been diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I could no longer drive my old fiesta which was manual and did not have power steering. So my corsa was purchased, it was automatic and a kind acquaintance from church who had a firm that did alterations for Motability put a steering ball on it so I could drive with minimal use of my wrists. Having that car meant I could fully do my job as an Occupational Therapist again, as I used to have to do lots of home visits which meant I needed to drive. This was all more than 12 years ago.
That little car has been brilliant very rarely has it let me down. However with my deterioration in health this year it got to the point where I could no longer easily get in and out of it. The corsa's health has also been suffering and when I got it through its annual MOT this year it came home with a very long list of recommendations!
So I finally got round to phoning our local garage to ask about a car that I first tried out about 2 years ago. I like Vauxhall cars, I like using the same garage - there is a certain amount of trust that builds up when you use the same folks. I called them and said the time has come, I knew the model that would suit my mobility needs, I knew I needed an automatic, I knew that getting a second hand model was going to be very difficult as not many folks drive small automatic cars.
My knowledge was correct - there was only one used car that this garage had access to on the national database (that's the whole of the UK), that fitted my requirements. Therefore it took very little persuading that this was the one for me. If I had wanted to get a brand new one I would have had to wait at least 4 months for it - that was unrealistic. So my choice was made.
Now back to my title question, How do you Respond? to what you might say, in this instance it is to all the folks who have said to me ' wow it's a bit bright isn't it' or ' nice colour' (not giving away whether they are being sarcastic or not). I will not deny that it is a very different colour, it is very bright, I did have to go down to the garage to see a picture of it to be sure I could handle the colour! However when folks who do not know the whole story as to why I have brought this car make a comment about the colour - it has made me bristle. Get real, there is a story behind this decision as there is with most decisions we all make every day. This experience has certainly made me realise that I need to watch how I respond to the decisions that other people make that have consequences for all to see, especially when I have no idea of the stories that have brought about those decisions.
So now I have had my little rant, I shall try and reply politely to all the comments about the colour of my car - having been driving it for nearly a week now, I love it colour and all (It's also very easy to find in a car park).
Saturday, 24 October 2009
Wednesday, 21 October 2009
You know when I sit and when I rise;
You discern my going out and my lying down;
Before a word is on my tongue
You hem me in—behind and before;
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
Where can I go from your Spirit?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
even there your hand will guide me,
If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
For you created my inmost being;
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
My frame was not hidden from you
your eyes saw my unformed body.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God!
Were I to count them,
If only you would slay the wicked, O God!
They speak of you with evil intent;
Do I not hate those who hate you, O LORD,
I have nothing but hatred for them;
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
See if there is any offensive way in me,
Tuesday, 20 October 2009
It was my mums birthday on Sunday. Her first birthday since her youngest daughter died. To do something very different for her we went to the beach. We couldn't have done this with Sally, her wheelchair would never have coped with the sand. It was a quiet and pensive day because we all knew that someone was missing.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
It has been very timely to find that Ann Voskamp on her blog Holy Experience has been talking about Resting. This has been another part of my emotional roller coaster in the last few months. The bottom line is I find it incredibly hard to do. I constantly give myself other things to concentrate on, even if that is just silly facebook games (though these have occasionally been a life saver). So this week with gentle reminders from Ann I am taking time to properly rest. I am spending time with God, not constantly wondering what he wants me to do - he gave me a plan last week for returning to work.
This afternoon I took a gentle walk with my husband, we didn't chat about anything in particular but just enjoyed a bit of time holding each others hands and looking at shades of Autumn all around us. This is the sort of resting I am having with God, not constantly chattering or straining to hear, just being with Him, taking time to notice the things He has made and marvel at the seasonal changes He gifted to us.
Returning to work is going to take another period of adjustment - I have no idea how well I am going to do back at work but I do know that it will undoubtedly take a lot of my energy. I am also coming up to the anniversary of my sisters death on November 27th 2008. Work, I am hoping might be a good distraction through this time. Memories and reminders are still so incredibly painful.
For my dear friends who have helped and supported me through this time off I am very grateful. There are many folks who I have not had much (if any) contact with. There are a variety of reasons for this, but I know that those who still consider me a friend will respect the quietness of my friendship at the moment.
Friday, 9 October 2009
If you look very closely you might just be able to pick out a needle and thread and some beads. As I have been sat on the sofa rather a lot in the last few months a very kind friend came round to try and inspire my craftiness. She has introduced me to the world of threaded beading. I was amazed at how simple such an intricate looking craft could be. I was hooked immediately. while we were on holiday during the summer I made bracelets for all my 3 children (even my son wanted one - though he did request it to be all black!) and for my mum. My mum hasn't taken hers off since. It's a simple procedure of counting beads on and then back threading very soothing and therapeutic for me in both body and soul. A bracelet takes me about an hour.
Some weeks ago on deciding that I would make them as presents for children who had birthdays coming up I felt prompted to spend the time that I was making them in prayer. Prayer for the one person whose bracelet I was making. This is not a totally new phenomena for me as I have always enjoyed making cards and praying as you can see here. It was when I started to pray while making the next bracelet that I felt God asking me to pray for 'Blessings' for the person I was making it for. So as every bead went on a blessing was requested, some were specific some were not. This was just the most lovely way to spend an hour. This is the end result:
So I am calling these bracelets, 'Blessings bracelets', I did a rough count up when I had finished to find that in this children's bracelet there were over 365 beads in them - so there is a Blessing for each of the new days in their new year ahead.
Another fact that I really like about these is that I can do them in the colours that I know the children love, I know that means that a lot of girls are going to want pinks, but as with the one above as they get a little older their tastes do become a little more sophisticated.
Below are a small collection of adult bracelets that I made during the summer that have yet to find homes. I had an interesting conversation with my husband a little while ago when we were pondering answerable questions that we would like to ask God. One of these was 'Can you ask God for something in arrears - as in when the time you want it has already passed'. We decided that if He is Omnipotent then you must be able to as he lives outside of time! So with that in mind I have prayed over these bracelets and would love to give them away.
The first 4 people to email me their addresses can receive their 'Blessings bracelets' absolutely free, a gift from me to you.
Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Monday, 21 September 2009
About two years ago I stopped buying clothing or goods where I could acquire such items either locally, organically or where the goods were fair trade. This has had several significant impacts:
1. I no longer get the desire to go out on big spending sprees - on line shopping never has quite the same 'comfort' as physically going to the shops.
2. Because my choices are limited (especially with regards to clothing) I only try and find things when stuff either wears out or a new need is identified.
3. Though I have to pay more (generally) for items of clothing, I am quite sure I am actually saving money because of points 1 and 2!
4. My children and husband are totally behind the whole project, and are getting very adept at finding 'fair trade' labels!
5. Despite many disparaging comments from folks saying that the whole 'fair trade and organic' thing is a 'fad' - I am absolutely delighted to see Cadburys carry out their pledge to make their dairy milk chocolate fair trade this autumn. (We did write to them asking them to do it!).
6. I never have to put on my clothing and think 'was a child forced to pick the cotton for this instead of getting an education'.
Going back to the Christmas cards, I have made my own cards for the last 10 years, it is something I really enjoy doing, I have tried to encourage my children to only use charity cards when they want to send them. I do believe that we should not be too 'scared' of upsetting people by letting them know how we stand on ethical and environmental issues. However my experience has now shown that as with many things (especially my faith) the best way of attracting other folks to causes that you support is to set an example that is true and honest.
Friday, 11 September 2009
The link above takes you to a video of a song titled as my title is. My husband put this on in the car this morning and it got us into a great conversation.
When someone says to you 'that's the way life is,' do you automatically conjure up a negative picture? I realised listening to this, that, that is what I normally do, however, this song totally turns it round for me. Maybe it is the fabulous Latino beat accompanying that makes it impossible to see it as anything negative. Certainly when you watch this video you can't take it as being anything negative.
It suddenly sounds like an extremely positive fact....'that's the way life is!'. Just as 'that's the way life was!' is how I have to view events from the past. At the moment that gives me a real sense of liberation. So much has happened to us in the last year that it can sometimes be very easy to focus on it still being hard. Reality is however that we have some real blessings going on as well. This morning my husband and I got to spend some really lovely quality time together. No pressing jobs to get done, but time to do a few bits of shopping along with going to the bank and stopping for a lovely fair trade coffee at Starbucks in our favourite bookshop (and managing not to buy anything!). Then shortly after arriving home a letter came telling us we were going to be given a large (for us) sum of money by the RAF benevolent fund in back payment for money we have paid out decorating our nieces room and clothing her! My morning had been good, no matter what else happens today no one can take away the fact that this morning was good. Praise God!!
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
I have come to realise that I have a real limit to the amount of change I can cope with even when I think that I am letting God in to support me. Interestingly is seems that it is changes in my physical abilities that are always the point at which I finally cannot resist letting God in and surrendering everything to Him. Physically I am in a state of limbo at the moment. I have still not fully recovered from the knee surgery I had over 10 weeks ago. I am trying to come to terms with the fact that the surgery has not worked and even when 'recovery' is complete I will still be in the same state as I was before surgery. As far as the medics are concerned there is going to be no more discussion until November when the option of knee replacements could become more real. In the mean time I have to do some research of my own so that I am not bamboozled with information when I finally go and can ask questions more fully informed. I really am not looking forward to doing any of that and am putting it off daily.
Friday, 14 August 2009
Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I have had a mixed result in my veg patch this year. We have had some good crops:
and some disappointing crops:
tomato (got blight again!!!!)
We did get some surprising crops, like potatoes which I hadn't even planted, a root in the compost maybe?? Had enough for a meal for the 5 of us and were a good size, but plants got blight after the tomatoes so had to dig up early to burn the plants along with the tomato plants. My mum has helped no end, her early mornings (4.30 am onwards) mean she has usually done a good few hours before anyone else has been up. She managed to salvage lots of green tomatoes which as you can see by the picture have nicely ripened by the window.
So over the last couple of days I have worked in the garden a little and with my sons help have managed to sow some more carrots, transplant some seedlings that mum sowed in trays a few weeks ago, lettuce, sweetcorn and pumpkins and have carefully erected some nets over them, hoping we might get a little more produce before the end of the year.
the spring onions and spinach in the colander are what went into my risotto last night for my husband and I and it really was quite delicious even if I do say so myself.
Sunday, 2 August 2009
I have got a bit of a blog block again at the moment - looking through some photos the other day has made me realise how little I have been writing about what we have been up to. This picture made me think of some lovely acts of kindness that some people have shown us in the last week or so. The picture shows a pile of 'new arrival' cards that I made. These have mostly been sent to folks who we don't see or correspond with regularly. What prompted me to do it was the thought that these folks would have been very upset for it to have got to Christmas and discover my niece appearing in all our cards without us telling them (I also have to confess I couldn't bear the thought of cards arriving without her mentioned in them).
As soon as these were sent out we then went away for a few days, leaving my parents in our home to enjoy some Southern weather (which turned out not to be much better than their midlands weather). They received several phone calls from friends and relatives who were responding to receiving the cards - this made my mum feel good and also meant we got to see my daughters God-mother who we hadn't had chance to tell we were going to be in her neck of the woods.
We also came back to discover several cards written by Aunts and cousins, one of these was from my husbands cousin who I have only met 2 or 3 times, she wrote the most amazing message to my niece welcoming her into an extended family. We have even received a phone call from Australia!
This has been a real unexpected joy and has reminded my husband and myself how fortunate we are to have such supportive friends and family, even if we are not always aware they are supporting us.
Wednesday, 22 July 2009
I have to say that this is so far from my experience I cannot relate to it at all. My grief hangs around like a nasty smell. It's stench is sometimes strong, sometimes weak. It appears at times when I do not always expect it. I don't like it - I would do anything to get rid of it. It does not remind me of nice things about my sister. It reminds me of dead things, her cold yellowing body in the hospital. It reminds me that I will never get to say goodbye, I will never get to hold her and hug her. I will never get to chat on the phone to her. I will watch her daughter grow up and do stuff that she will never be able to show to her mum.
My grief reminds me that others have lost my sister as well, it makes my heart ache for my mum and dad and her daughter. I remember writing a post in the early days of this blog about how I couldn't believe that God wanted us to feel grief. I still cannot believe that when he created us, he 'gave' us the ability to have grief. I can believe that he gave us the emotions to feel that suddenly combine and create 'grief'. But we were made to live in harmony with all creation, if the fall had not happened would the creatures that God made have died? Big questions to have in your mind on a Wednesday morning.
I had better try and pull myself back together now and get on with the morning chores - my two little ones are finishing school for the summer at lunch time - much to their releif - the big one got to finish yesterday 'It's not fair'.
Monday, 20 July 2009
- Get showered/bathed and dressed and spend some time pampering each other.
- Make cards ( she needed to do one for the party she was going to later).
- Have lunch in front of the TV (a very rare treat indeed!).
- Do some baking together.
- Get herself ready for the party.
- Go to the party.
This felt reasonably realistic and I even managed to get her to tidy her room while we were 'pampering' each other (naughty mummy doing something she wanted to do!).
I kept in my mind all day the fact that I would get a couple of hours while she was at the party to myself, which really helped me to focus on her.
I sometimes beat myself up for not having more desire to spend more time with my youngest daughter. I really do find her quite hard work and she does require a lot of attention which seems to have the effect of making me not want to give it to her - hmmmm.
Yesterday however, it just all seemed to work, every time I felt myself getting a bit distracted I was able (with Gods help I know) to get back on track.
Here are a few photos of what we got up to.
this is the craft, I taught her a bit of decoupage using an image off the Internet.
the lovely yummy cakes she made and decorated.
Wednesday, 15 July 2009
I find it very easy to get drawn into the gloom that seems to exist in our world today, the 'what difference can I make?' question is so much easier to dismiss than to really grapple with. However I do believe that we can make huge differences with the smallest of acts. The problem is they might not make huge differences to ourselves. Even more precarious is the acceptance that they might even 'cost' us something.
As a Christian I believe that Jesus' life on earth is the gift of example to how, us mere mortals are able to live. I do not believe this is the only reason why Jesus came to earth but this aspect is one I want to explore some more.
So what are things that Jesus taught us? Fairness, faithfulness, passion, generosity, worshipful, I really could go on and on, however I think the following verse is probably the most difficult for us to replicate.
Mathew 22 36 - 40
"Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.'This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."
So firstly we need to love God with the whole of ourselves, to me this means putting Him at the forefront of everything that I do. Loving him more than I love my husband and my children! Is this really acheivable? I am sure it is but I know that I do not easily achieve it, even for just a part of my day. Secondly loving others as you love yourself. The point of this that takes my breath away is the fact that we should be loving and taking care of ourselves. However we can not stop there, taking care of ourselves to the detriment of those around you is just not an option.
For me this is the lynch pin of how I can live each day not neccessarily as if it was my last but certainly as I feel God would want me to be living it.
Monday, 13 July 2009
There has been a lot of physical changes in our home since my 12 yr old niece came to live with us. Our spare room no longer exists, so we have had to have new units downstairs to house bits and pieces that belonged to myself and my husband which were in there (not quite completed this stage as there are still two boxes of books on our bedroom floor). This room has now been decorated and new furnishings put into (except for bed).
My sons old room is now my nieces room. It has been cleared except for my sons old bed, the clothes rail in the built in wardrobe has been placed higher. The first coat of colour has gone on - it's very red! Her white high bed has been purchased with a desk and storage under it, hopefully it should arrive in the next two weeks. Once that is in we can properly assess how much more storage is required, we do have a nice set of black shelves from the old 'spare' room which we can get some rather funky glass doors to go on, but don't know whether that much will be required yet - a lot of her stuff is still at my parents place.
The demise of the 'spare' room also means that I have had to halve my wardrobe so that I can share it with my husband - he used the 'spare' one before that.
Today we are trying out a new 'system' for the laundry. It seems my darling little niece has quite an issue about putting stuff away properly (I know she's almost a teenager and that is what they do!) - especially dirty clothes. As small and petty as it might seem it has really got me in a stew. I am a stickler for only washing once or at the most twice a week. I have found that this means stuff doesn't get put in the wash unless it really needs to go in it. It also means that when putting lovely fresh clean clothes on the washing line I can see exactly what has been worn (or not!). This is how I have discovered the disappearing act that most of my nieces clothes seem to do. So the system that I have used for the last 13 + years of my married and family life is going (at least for a trial period). The washing baskets we used, one for whites, one for light colours, one for dark colours, were always kept in my wardrobe. Maybe the trip to our room was just too far?????? So my husband has come up with the idea of using a chest that used to live in the 'spare' room but which up until today has had no home. This is going to be kept on the landing (between all the rooms).
I have no idea if any of these changes is going to work well, they have taken an awful lot of energy and thought. It has reconfirmed to me the importance of not getting too attached to 'stuff' or 'systems', but as with all change it really is not easy.
Wednesday, 8 July 2009
A good friend gave me this last weekend, the funniest part of it is that the following day my daughter did catch me with my dress tucked in my knickers walking (on crutches) down the path.
On a more serious note it has got me to thinking about all the things going on in my life that at the moment feel a bit 'impossible'. Could my faith be strong and sure enough to really believe that they are? So I thought I would list them:
- I want to believe that we can provide a safe and stable home for my niece and that it won't be to the detriment of my other children's safety and happiness.
- I want to believe that my body will enable me to do all the stuff I want to do.
- I want to believe that my parents would come to know Jesus.
- I want to believe that a broken relationship can be repaired.
- I want to believe that my home church and work place will be lead my a new visionary leader and we won't be left in an interregnum for too long.
I am sure there are more, but these will be good to focus on for now. The promise is there that all things are possible - the challenge for me to believe it is now on.
Monday, 6 July 2009
We are under no illusions, we know that we are not taking on an easy job. We have had her with us for 6 weeks now, she has settled into her new school here relatively easily and is starting to make new friends. She gets on fabulously with my 9 year old son, not so well with our 8 year old daughter - but I expected that - sharing mummy when you are 8 is very, very difficult.
We are now trying to make sure we can get all the support that is available to us. Social services have finally taken us seriously and come on board, which I hope is going to be a good thing. We are also fortunate to have a Child Bereavement charity close by who run groups to support both our 12 year old and our two younger ones.
I have now made the decision to take the six weeks off work that I have been signed off to have and concentrate my energies on providing as much as I am able, to our three lovely children, my husband and myself.
So now we are in the process of letting as many people as possible know the news, including my sisters friends, by sending out 'New Addition' cards. We have a big job ahead of us but we are as ready as we will ever be for it, my husband came up with a very good way of describing how we feel about it all a few weeks ago:
"It's a bit like when you are expecting your first child, you read all the books, you talk to people about it, but actually until that child is in your arms, in your home, you really don't have a clue how it is all going to work out, and even years down the line you are still learning."
Saturday, 4 July 2009
So why is this story on my mind today - I had a terrible nights sleep because I feel a bit like the man in the sea.
At work I have been trying to organize a holiday club for the end of July. This holiday club has been an uphill struggle since I started working for the church some 18 months ago. I am now looking at two lifelines that have been sent this week and wondering if they are from God and if so - I should be hanging on to them:
- After having my knees operated on last Monday, I have been signed off work for 6 weeks and told not to drive for at least 4 weeks. This takes me past the date of the holiday club.
- Yesterday our Child Protection Officer informed me that I couldn't use 9 of my volunteers as they have not got up to date CRB forms completed for our church.
I hate giving in and not being able to complete projects and so feel in complete turmoil. I have been feeling very low about work for some time. We have got so much going off at home that the thought of being able to concentrate on home things and getting fit for the next 6 weeks is far more appealing than struggling to do a holiday club which will not be the best I could do and may lead to me ruining my knees again.
So I am waiting and listening and trusting on the discernment of others to help me make the decision as to whether I pull out completely from this holiday club. It's a hard thing to do, very hard.