Saturday, 28 November 2009

Please lay the table ..

.. I asked my daughters yesterday. I just meant put out the knives, forks and make sure that the mats are all in the correct place. We were having guests so I didn't take much notice of what they were doing as I was putting the finishing touches to the dinner.

I noticed that they were going backwards and forwards from the Utility Room and Dining Room rather a lot but thought nothing of it. When I went into the Dining Room the table was beautiful. They had discovered the Christmas Runner for the table and found out some serviettes. All the knives and forks were the right way around and they had put the mats out symmetrically. The candles were decoratively placed in the middle of the table. They had done a lovely job and it was far more imaginative than if I had done the job.

Well done girls for your creative spirits. Please don't ever lose it.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Heaven and Hell, fact or fiction?

Recently, I read this article posted by a friend on Facebook. It caused to make me think about why I believe in Heaven and why that belief gives me hope in this world.

As a Christian I believe my Salvation (and therefore my place in Heaven) is through the grace of God. I love the passage from Ephesians 2:1-10 which explains it better than I could. Jesus spoke a lot about Heaven and that is another reason that I believe it is a real place. He told the thief on the cross that he would go to Paradise that day. He explained to the disciples about the place He was going to prepare for those who believe in Him. Heaven to me is a place that I will go to when I die. I will serve and worship Jesus in my perfected self forever. I will not fail Him by my sinful ways, I will not struggle to come to terms with what my life brings my way, I will not cause others pain or hurt, I will always be joyful and many other things. I look forward to the place which is Heaven and can't wait to see how God has designed it.

I don't like to think of Hell but I also believe that is a real place. I believe with my whole heart that God is a God of love but He has other characteristics as well and one of those is Judge. It is not something I think about much but it is true (I believe). He is a righteous Judge and He will do what is right. If an earthly Judge has to make rulings on wrong-doing how much more so will the heavenly Judge. Sin cannot go unpunished and if we don't accept that Jesus took the penalty then we will have to do so ourselves.

For me believing in a real Heaven and Hell gives me hope in this life. When things are tough I can hold onto the believe that God is Love and He will do what is right. The realities also make me more aware of the need for me to go, be a light in a dark world and to tell people around me the good news of Jesus.

If you agree please let me know. If you don't then let me know as well. Please point me to Bible verse whatever you think so I can learn more.

Umm, truth being revealed?

I am sure we will find out eventually what the truth behind the intelligence that sent us into war against Iraq is. I remembered I was uneasy at the time. OK, that is a slight understatement. I was against us going to war. I also remember having conversations with friends who tried to assure me that our then PM would not take our country into a war without basis or information that warranted it.

I have also learnt in the intervening years that whilst I may not agree with the Politics that sent our Military into war, I have to support those men and women. I am sure if I took a survey amongst the Military people I know I would get a wide range of different views on this topic.

So we wait for this report to be published in 2011 and then we may have a better idea what was really known about the WMD.

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Just to say ....

... the party was lovely. The girls (all 8 of them) were excited. I was pleased that I managed to walk 7 of them home from school safely. We had drinks and biscuits, then the birthday girl opened her presents and loved them all; including the nail varnish and lip-gloss one friend had bought her.

We then played a variety of different games with the usual kind of reactions from the participants. Some were just excited to join in, others complained a little whilst one had complete dramas when things didn't go her way. The other girls came around her and made sure she was OK. We managed to get through it though and everyone seemed happy at the end. The party food looked like a plague of locusts had descended by the end but all went away well fed. And I seemed to get away with a slice of cake and bag of chocolate buttons instead of party bags! Phew.

We shut the door behind the last guest and the peace descended. I didn't realise 8 girls could make so much noise.

As a family we went into operation 'tidy-up' to make the home presentable for the people coming to the Bible Study.

One less party to do. The next one is in January when 'the man about the house' celebrates the big 40. I am still getting over the shock that he has asked for a party.

Friday, 20 November 2009

I dreamed a dream

Apparently, it is about 8 months ago that Susan Boyle first hit the UK TV screens. She came onto the 'Britian's got Talent' show and was written off because of her appearance. It was clear from the camera panning across the audience and judges exactly what they thought of her. It changed when she opened her mouth to sing. She sang 'I dreamed a dream' from Les Miserables. She wanted to become a famous singer like Elaine Paige.

Yesterday, it was reported that she has the biggest pre-order sales for an album on Amazon in its 14 year history. I hope the out-working of her dream works out really well for her.

I came across another dream the other day. From a very different lady. On the surface her dream was even more impossible that that of Susan Boyle. She was born in Africa and had about 1 year of education before being married at 11 years old to an abusive husband. Her life was changed and she began to dream. Her dreams have come true through hard work and determination. You can read her inspiring story here:

I should never say never again and gain inspiration from these stories. I can dream a dream too.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Hair today, gone tomorrow!

For reasons that don't need explaining at this conjuncture it took me until I was 38 years old to have the confidence to experiment with different hairstyles. Last year I had my very long (and very out of condition) curly hair cut to a lovely round short style.

Yesterday, I had my hair cut again but have gone even shorter. I love it. But what I love the most is the confidence to try different styles without having major traumas about it. If I have a style I don't like then who cares, it will grow back. I wish I had found this confidence years ago.

Monday, 9 November 2009


For The Fallen
With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years contemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

The full text of the poem contains the words (in bold) that we quote each year at Remembrance Day Services. Yesterday afternoon, we watched the match of the Cadets, Scouts and Brownies. Later on the girls and myself went along to the War Memorial in town to watch the ceremony there. As we waited in the cold it struck me how much these men and women sacrificed for us; and that they still do.

Whatever, I think of the current political decisions that led our troops into war once again, I must support them and their families. I now live in a Military town and this is even more important than ever. These people have chosen this job and in doing so protect the interests of our Country. I am proud to stand by them.

Monday, 2 November 2009

Rediscovering Trust

Last week we were on holiday and had a lovely time. We came back Saturday and had already made the decision that we would attend a different church on the Sunday morning. (We were going to take the Sunday evening off but the girls wanted to go as they didn't have to go to school on the Monday!)

We went to the church that meets across the road from us. When we moved to the town it met about 10 minutes walk away but they needed a bigger building. So now this town has two Churches either side of the road. When we got to church the children were dropped off in the Children's Church; we signed them in and were given half of a tagging system (which is still in my bag!) We then went back to the main church. It was good to be part of a larger church for a while again - no anonymity for us though as many recognised my husband and some knew me. We sat back and worshipped with the singing, praying and were encouraged by the testimonies of God working in the hearts of other Christians.

The message spoke to my heart. The pastor spoke from Judges 7 - Gideon choosing the army to fight the Midianites. God in His will whittled the men down to 300; according to the pastor the Israelite army was at the odds of 450 to 1. An impossible task indeed. We are intelligent 21st Century people and we know that is never going to work. However, God stepped in and the Israelites defeated the Midianites. The pastor encouraged us to think of areas in our lives where we needed to rediscover a trust in God. First in Salvation, then death and the section that spoke to me was living out the Christian life. At the moment I have a problem in my life that seems insurmountable. I truly cannot see any change. I have reacted in ways that haven't helped. The problem is my eldest daughter and her temper tantrums. I love her but I don't know how to stop them. This morning one was triggered because we told her that the school uniform required her to have grey trousers (she wanted black). This piece of information sent the breakfast bowl and cup of milk across the table. I am worn out by the length of time this has been going on for (many years in one form or another). Maybe, God allowed us to go to the other church just so we could hear that. It is impossible for us but He can defeat the tempers and bring back the delightful daughter that every one else sees. And if that doesn't happen then He can give me the courage to face this 'army'. I need to trust God and not just when the circumstances change.

There are other areas that the sermon spoke to but for now that is enough soul-bearing.