Saturday, 28 May 2011

Lock The Locks - In honour of my little brother and his new life.

I have just bought  Computers and Blues by The Streets, I know I am a bit late but somehow the fact that there had been a new album by Mike Skinner et al had escaped me until now.

The very last song bears the same title as this post. It is a realisation by the artist that it is time to move on and follow his heart. This is expressed beautifully by the lyric:

" Even though to most it looked random
My heart had left I was just going in tandem"

On very first hearing I thought of my brother, who is soon to emigrate to Switzerland. His fiancee has already moved over and begun her new job and my brother is left behind to "lock the locks" so to speak, to finish off at work and then continue to Geneva. In my brother's case his heart (Lauren) has physically already left of course.

My brother and I are like chalk and cheese, and fought like cat and dog for most of our childhoods. He is a 6 feet tall 16 stone rugby playing naughty boy, and I am a 6 feet tall weakling who does a good line in fooling folk that I am a goody two shoes (or so I like to think). However I would like to get this down in writing for all the world to see:

 I love you Bro!

I am immensely proud of you all all you have accomplished so far, and wish you both all the very best in Geneva. You go with my thoughts and prayers and buckets of love. xxx

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Reflections on the Quiet Evening

At the Quiet Evening last night (and very successful it was too) I started to think and read and pray. The quiet gave me the opportunity to encounter God and let Him lead my thinking and reading, and communicate with Him through prayer.

Written in the journal I use for this purpose was a quotation from Francis Dewar's book Called or Collared, which I have been reflecting on over the past few weeks:

"We need to be constantly seeking to transcend our our search for the living God, and in opening ourselves to be searched by God."
Now, I don't know about you, but for me the easier part of that quote is the part that requires me to search for God, the tricky bit comes when I recognise that in order to achieve maturity as a Christian, I need to allow God to search me. Why is this tricky? Well, all of us, without question have the "dark places of soul" which the poet Patrick Kavannagh described. The area of our inner self which remain hidden from view. The aspects of our personality which we do our level best to hide from our neighbour and certainly do not want to reveal to God.

The thing is, there is no point attempting to hide anything from God, no matter how much we would like to. God already knows.

My favourite Psalm says:

11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you. Psalm 139
 God's omnipresence is not to be feared. His grace is freely given, and his forgiveness offered to me and to everyone else who seeks it. He stands like the father of the prodigal son, with his arms open wide to welcome us home, as his arms were open wide once for all upon the cross.

"God help us to find our confession... Lead us into the darkness that we may find what lies concealed; That we may confess it towards the light; that we may carry our truth in the centre of our heart; That we may carry our cross wisely and bring harmony into our life and our world. Amen" Michael Leunig

So that was some of my conversations with God, last night, I hope you found it useful. A little note for anyone who read last night's blog entry - we got a cup of coffee and it was indeed lukewarm!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

A Quiet Evening

This evening I am off to Polesworth Abbey with a group from our church Mother's Union branch and a few extras for a Quiet Evening.

The lady who has organised it has, to my great pleasure, asked some of the mums of our Father Freddie children's group attendees and they have accepted the invitation. All great so far...

On the school run this morning I was chatting to one of these mums, who asked the big question: "So, what does this evening involve then?"

To me,  a Quiet Evening doesn't need to be defined. It's like a Quiet Day but in the evening and therefore a shortened form, I assume. I expect a talk (It is a led event), some time for prayer and meditation, and maybe some worship to close. If we are very well behaved we might even get a cup of lukewarm instant coffee.

However to someone who has never been immersed in church life, the words Quiet Day and Quiet Evening conjure up all sorts of different images. As I have a very limited social calendar I have many quiet evenings at home myself!

It got me thinking both about the importance of a personal invitation to these sort of occasions, and also the language we use in church. If these people had not been directly invited, would they have shown any interest in the event described as a Quiet Evening on the notice sheet, despite the fact that once the have experienced one they know the name is perfectly appropriate.

Friday, 20 May 2011

"There's a fine line between funny and offensive"

So said a Curate of my acquaintance tonight.

I agree with him, it's tricky. One person's amusing is often another's offensive. One person's harmless is a cause of great concern for another person and so on. The boundaries are constantly changing as society develops and understands more of the world, and the people with whom they share it.

The phrase often heard is "S/he took it too far..." Jeremy Clarkson, Frankie Boyle, are two television personalities who have been accused (rightly in my opinion) of doing this.

As a Christian with a reasonably developed sense of humour, I feel that certain things are clearer than others. For instance this is the t-shirt that inspired this blog post, and this made me respond with a big fat "Ewwwww". Not good. Along with the classic Nice Legs - What time do they open? Somebody somewhere finds this amusing - the aforementioned Nice Legs t-shirt has sold out.  "The Vicar's Wife" has actually witnessed one of these high quality t-shirts on an actual human. Now, seeing women as sexual objects who open their legs automatically on the orders of a stupid t-shirt has crossed the line with me I'm afraid.

Friday, 13 May 2011

An Ode to Blogging

We wrote our poetry and our prose
and anguished over the words we chose
One morning we woke and they had gone
Our writings lost - well that's not on!
Our blogs are here for you

Our blogs have function and a form
To cause a laugh or just inform
and when our world is in a wobble
a massive row or just a squabble
Our blogs are here for you

Now we breathe again my friend
You have read the ode I penned (Technically typed but that didn't rhyme with friend!)
I waffle away again with ease
Hope it's good (I try to please!)
Our blogs are here to stay!

 This post is dedicated to DC, HR and EM :D

Thursday, 12 May 2011


I was taught to pray using the acronym ACTS.
Adoration, Contrition, Thanksgiving, Supplication.

Although to be completely truthful my prayer often end ups heavy on the S and light on the T. I bombard God with a list of demands and pause occasionally to marvel in His greatness and apologise for my weaknesses, but as for giving thanks...

I wouldn't dream of missing out the many thank yous to people in my day. Thank you to my husband for making the coffee at breakfast, thank you to my son for putting his school uniform on without a fuss, thank you to the lady who held the door open for me at the shops, thank you to the bus driver as I disembarked and so the list goes on. It is so natural, it's like breathing. So why does are the most important thank yous missed out so often? Why do I take God for granted?

So to even the score this evening:

Praise be to the God of all, who formed me in my mother's womb and knows me best of all.
I confess the things that I have done and said which have caused you pain, and lay myself open before you.
Thank you for all the blessings of this life, that I may never cease to recognise and appreciate the blessings you have given me.
Tonight I pray for all those on my heart and place them safely into your hands.

Lord in your mercy...

Monday, 9 May 2011

Keeping it personal

When I was a child, one of the most exciting things that could possibly happen was to receive visitors to our house. My brother and I would make signs saying "Welcome" for any overnight guests and lovingly decorate them with our felt tip pens. I would very nearly implode with excitement when the moment arrived and the doorbell rang...and then I would freeze.

The terrifying moment would overwhelm me. I loved having guests to visit, and I loved the attention they gave us while they stayed with us, but I absolutely hated being kissed and cuddled by them in greeting or as a goodbye ritual.

It's quite strange really, I have no idea why I reacted in such a way. My parents were very good at showing affection and I was happy to held and kissed by my parents, and they were responsive to us children. In adulthood I have a loving demonstrative relationship with my husband and son. I am still uncomfortable with showing physical affection to anyone other than my immediate family. Although I recognise that there are times when other people would appreciate a hug and that this action, for them, speaks louder than any words. Anyone who knows me well, knows also that there are times when I have very much appreciated the physical show of affection, and I wish to thank them for their support at those times.

As a general rule my personal space is indeed personal. Now I am an adult I can choose who to keep at arms length and when. Thank goodness. I will always require my own son to be polite and respectful, but I will never insist he shows affection physically to anyone. If you are in receipt of a hug from my son or myself, you are highly favoured.