Monday, 31 August 2009

Friendship and refreshment of the soul.

I am nearing the end of reading 'same kind of different As me'; a book about a friendship between the most unlikely men. One a former cotton-picking, ex-con, homeless black man and the other a former Salesman who went on to be a Banker and then a very successful Art Dealer. I have been riveted by this book. These men had nothing in common but the bond they formed is deep. The one has a relationship with Jesus to start with and the other forms one during friendship. They began their journey together at the instance of the Art Dealer's wife. I haven't finished the book yet but I have been inspired; it has moved me to tears at times and laughter at others.

The funny thing is friendship has been a reoccurring theme in my heart and mind recently. We have had a summer of many visits from old friends and I have felt the need to forge new ones where I live now. I have been reminded of the need of all humans to live in community with others.

I am the wife of the parish as it were and it is often said that friendship cannot or even should not be formed therein. I look at the example of Jesus and beg to differ. He had disciples whom he loved deeply, others who were with him on a daily basis and still further friends who he could call upon. I think that is a great model to follow. Some of my friends will be from within the church I attend.

I have decided to be proactive in the search for good friends. I will take the opportunities that are presented to me and also make some for myself. I need that refreshment of the soul that real friends will offer but I also need to be that to others. My friends will come from many different places: Church, my community, other churches etc etc.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Can we find peace in a busy world?

We don't lead a boring life. This summer we have had a stream of visitors through our house. One lot stayed but for the most part we are just serving coffee, cakes and meals. It has meant that I have been able to do a fair bit of baking with my girls. We are pleased to say that the weather has been fine enough to take some of our visitors to the beach and our local park. I have even been in the sea with one of my daughters. Something, I will do again but will have to get a wetsuit and body-board to go with it I think!

My daughters got their long-awaited Life Story work yesterday (it only took 6 years but I will not bore you with the details!). We were supposed to go out with friends yesterday but their son was sick, so we took the opportunity of a quiet day to show them their folders. They were remarkable: our eldest did a great job at reading a large part of it herself. They took the whole thing in their stride and were tremendously interested in the photos of them as babies. This morning they swapped folders and looked at each others. I struggle to get my head around some of it and these 2 little girls sat,looked at their folders and then got their teddies (the ones we gave them in the first week) and showed them the Life Story work. Thank God for His help with this.

Today and tomorrow are 'meeting with friends' days which will involve cream teas and icecream (but not at the same time). We are so grateful for friends old and also for the signs of new friendship we are having in our new place.

Oh, and on top of all that my family leave this town in 6 days time. I will not be here to wave them off as we are going to a Hospital appointment with one of my daughters. They are spending the day with us on Sunday and I am hoping that I can hold it all together. I am going to miss them all like mad.

I look out on the horizon of life and look for the quiet patch but I am not sure it is coming. I need to learn to get that in my heart and soul by reading scripture,helpful books and poems and listening to great music. So for those who may read this: if you have anything that can help me quieten my soul then let me know.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Favourite verses

Both my daughters have favourite bible verses. One is For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. She loves that fact that she will not cry any more. My other daughter loves the verse when Jesus tells the little girl to get up when she has died - Taking her by the hand he said to her, “Talitha cumi,” which means, “Little girl, I say to you, arise.”

Last night they asked me 'Mummy, what is your favourite verse?' I was unable to choose my favourite between the following two.
Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 31 but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint. and I sought the Lord, and he answered me and delivered me from all my fears. The latter verse has carried my husband through an incredibly difficult patch this year.

I told the girls we should have a favourite verse board and they thought that was a good idea. So I think that is something we ought to get on and do.

Do you have a favourite verse? Post it here if you wish.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Thanks for the memories.

I have been married over 16 years and for most of that time we have lived away from all family. It was just the 2 of us and then we expanded to 4 when our children came along. For the past year we have lived near a close member of my family. It has been lovely, we have enjoyed the spontaneous coffees, lunches, phone calls, trips around their house to watch cricket etc etc. Due to the need for my brother to be able to provide for his family, they are having to move away in 2 weeks time. He tried to get a job locally but it wasn't to be and will be living about 4 hours drive away. We are trying hard not to collapse at the thought of our family (who are now good friends) moving away from us. When we didn't have family around we were independent and it was a matter of large concern but we have lived with the pleasure of it for a year. It is going to be hard going back to being 'just us'.

I am also struggling a little in that they were one of the pointers in our move here. I find it confusing that they are now going. I understand that in the plan of God we are here and have to make the most of it but I wish it was part of His plan for them to stay.

They haven't gone yet and I am already beginning to feel lonely. Watch out everyone around here I am not going to sit around and stay lonely for long; you will find me around a lot.

So I will thank my family for the lovely year and pray that the closeness will continue even with the distance between us.

Sunday, 9 August 2009

Children are funny.

but I shouldn't really laugh. Tonight, in response to putting one of my daughters in time out for throwing something she sat on the stairs wailing: 'I have lost my memory. I don't know who I am. I don't know where I am. You top is green (it is red) and your trousers are blue (they are black). The rest of us had to suppress our giggles because it sounded so hilarious. Thankfully, she calmed down very quickly and her memory has now been fully restored. Once the temper calmed down she joined in and laughed with the rest of us.

I tried very hard not to laugh, I promise.

Friday, 7 August 2009

A Year has gone by.

It is hard for me to believe that we have been here for a year. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions.

We were not unhappy to see the back of our removal company who enjoyed taking the money but didn't seem so keen on doing the work well. The majority of the boxes were cleared or at least sorted in about a week - ironically the two we left to 'sort out later' are still in the same state. Perhaps, that will be our anniversary present. 

I suppose our changes of settling in well were blown out of the water at the news of our friend dying at the age of 38. Our old church had only just lost us to a different place and then they were having to deal with that news. We still miss our friend and often when we see the absurd we are reminded of his wacky sense of humour. We are reminded of his love for God, his wife and child. When we saw his wife a few weeks ago we were once again amazed at the courage and trust in God she has.

I could recount the whole year's many tales but suffice to say it isn't a 12-month period I wish to repeat again soon. Or ever really. But then again I know that when we say we will serve God we do not get to order our days.

Gradually, this place is feeling a little like home. We went on our old Church's Houseparty just over a month ago and somehow that helped. It was a great weekend but I cried openly in ways I haven't done since I was a child. God gave me the realisation over that weekend that we are here and we can trust Him to enable us to serve Him.

I was also reminded that I have to be the change I want to see: Let me clarify. I can't complain that the Church, people etc are not what I am used to whilst I wallow in my upset. I have to be encouraging even when I am not encouraged. I have to worship even when the music is not as I would choose. I have to ask God to show me how I can change before I point the finger at others.

We are living in a beautiful part of the country and need to make the most of it. I have been in the sea once this year and plan to make it a regular thing - weather permitting. We also want to take our girls for long walks in the countryside that we are surrounded by.

So 12 months has past and I look forward (with trepidation) to the next 12 months to see how I will grow, what lessons God will teach me and what is in store.

The end of an era

I am from a generation that watched John Hughes films. I didn't watch that many but can still quote from the ones I did watch.

I watched them with my then boyfriend (who is now my husband). The 1980s seem an age away; we all wore strange clothes and sported really dodgy haircuts. And my glasses looked like something that Deirdre Barlow would be happy in! The films seemed to encapsulate how we were all feeling, the pain, joys and intensity of being a teenager.

Today, we heard the news that John Hughes as died at the age of 59 years old. I am wondering if my girls will have the same feeling about films they watch in their teens when they are heading towards 40!