Wednesday, 22 February 2012


Caesura - A friend of mine wrote a poem based on this word.  Technically, it is pause in a line of poetry or music.  I like the word and I remember liking the poem but can't find a copy of it now.

Today, is the start of Lent.  Last night we had waffles instead of pancakes but they are more or less the same thing.  Usually, that is where my Lent observation begins and ends.  This year I read a blog post about how to mark Lent, and one thing was to cut Internet time.  If I was brave I would unplug completely but I am the type of person who needs to make my goals achievable otherwise I fall at the first hurdle.  Also, there are some websites that have helped me develop good exercising practices so I will keep going with those.

I realised that like most people of my generation I spend way too much time on here.  Also, like my generation I try to pretend that I don't.  So last week I faced up to facts.  I decided that for Lent this year I would get my Internet usage into perspective.  I have placed Facebook, a PW Forum and some blogs into my computer's 'blocked sites' list and will not be using them until the end of Lent.  I had to do this because I know left to my own devices, I would be back on them by the end of the week.  So, if your blog has gone in there it is nothing to do with you, just the amount of time and energy I was spending on it.

At the end of the time, I will re-evaluate things and I may cut my Facebook friends list down.

God willing, I will use the time I save to:

  • Spend more quality time with my family, without the haze of a computer screen in my glasses.
  • Spend more time with God.
  • Spend more time with friends in my town.  Build real-life friendships.
  • Spend more time building up my long-distance friendships, some of which are only there because of the Internet.
  • Do more thorough cleaning.  My house is pretty tidy but there are lots of areas that don't get done which should.
  • Read more books.
  • Listen (or watch, using iplayer ironically) to some Lent Lectures.
  • Rebuild the margins in my life.
  • Develop real hospitality in my home.
  • Keep cooking and learn more skills.
  • Maybe, start a needle craft again.
I think that is enough for the moment or I will be in danger of settings the bar too high and then I will fail. 

Saturday, 11 February 2012


I occasionally suffer from 'black dog' days.  I am not a pretty person to be around during them.  I push everyone around me away.  And in the midst of them I genuinely do not seem to know how to stop it or the emotional consequences.  Like many people of my generation, I don't rest or replenish low batteries much at other times either.  Even if I am sitting down watching TV, surfing the net or reading a book, my brain is always on the go.  This leads to an overload when something tough happens and it triggers a bad day or two.  It causes an inability to see, hear or feel anything properly.

However, I do love music but a lot of what I listen to is 'active' and noisy.  I love rhythm but in order to switch off I need soft, soulful music.  Music that will calm my heart, mind and soul.

For today this song fitted the bill:

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Parenting: My kind of freedom.

I thought becoming a mum would be easy.  After all, I am one of four children and my mum never had any troubles in that department.  I had two ambitions growing up: Becoming a wife.  Having children; four of them.

I married relatively young (22 years old) and wanted children almost straight away.  I imagined the warm fuzzy family that we would have.  Our children would have biblical names and all be extremely well behaved!  They would also have delicate red curly hair and eyes the colour of my husband's.  I was going to be the most maternal mum ever.

Reality didn't mirror our dreams in any way.  I never did manage to carry a baby to term; we lost 4 babies through miscarriage.

Thank God, that our story didn't end there; we became parents through adoption.  My family looks different from the one I imagined.  My girls have red hair but the curls are nowhere to be seen.  Their first names were given to them by another set of parents and their behaviour is often less than perfect.  But the girls are ours (don't anyone try to tell me any different) and given to us by God so we still have to do the job of parenting.

I am writing this post to link up with Sarah's Carnival.  I came into marriage with lots of ideas/ideals about the kind of parent I would be.  However, waiting nearly 8 years, going through an adoption process and then becoming a mum to 2 children on one day shot some of those to pieces!  I love my girls but we have had challenges to face.  One of my daughters, especially, has tested my patience to the limit and many times I have failed.

The practice that has helped me through the years of parenting is routine and consistency.  I remember in the first few weeks after the girls were placed that we went for a nap every time they did.  Those scheduled sleeps were a life saver, as were the set bedtimes.  Many a time I felt overwhelmed by the long day which stretched ahead of me; 'Oh, my goodness! They have had breakfast, I have had breakfast, we are all washed and dressed and it is still only 9am!'  My routines helped break the day into smaller, more manageable slots.

Other routines over the years have poured a salve on my wounded heart after many a bad day of parenting. (Either their tantrums, my reactions or both!):  The long bedtime routine, the stories that we read each night and their excitement as to what is going to happen next in our chapter books, the time of sleep/calm after dinner when the girls are home, the Saturday morning walk to the shops with daddy, the Christmas corner that we set up each year, the travel bag my girls pack for every long journey, the nightly bible times we share together, sitting down each night as a family to eat dinner etc etc etc.  I love my routines and they have helped me be a better parent.  I know full well that spontaneity has a place and that is something I need to learn too but for the moment we will stick with the routines.

God knew that our parenting experience would not be anything like we thought; that we would face things that we could never have imagined 9 years ago before our girls came, but He has guided and protected through the years and will do so in the ones to come.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Perseverance and the hope of Christ

This year I want to start thinking of Christian things in a deeper way.  However, what I want to focus on is things like my hope in Christ, and how the Holy Spirit can overcome my many fears, and give strength and courage even when life is pants. 

On Sunday, I have to do the Children's talk at Church.  I struggle each time to think of what to say that might be original, snappy and that will have the children eating out of my hand.  When nothing like that comes to mind, I usually give up and search my memory bank for something I said at my last church.  I have a few historical characters who are my heroes; and one of them is Eric Liddell.  I used to like his story even before I started running.  

Eric was born in China in 1902 and died there from a brain tumour in 1945.  From my reading of him, everything he did, he worked hard at it.  He was a good athlete and a strong Christian and worked hard at both whilst at University in Edinburgh.  He played Rugby for the Scottish National Team as well as competing in many athletic events.  

In 1924 the Paris Olympics took place.  Eric is well known for refusing to compete in the 100 metres race because it was held on a Sunday.  He instead, competed the 400 metres and broke World and Olympic records.  

From 1925-1943 he was a Missionary in China.  He married and had 3 daughters but also continued to run whilst teaching Science to rich Chinese students.  China was invaded by Japanese forces in 1937 but Eric stayed and helped many.  The British Government wanted him to leave China as the situation worsened.  He stayed while his family left for Canada.  (He would never see them again.)  

Eric, along with other Westerners was sent to Weihsein Interment Camp in 1943.  He helped many people while there with food, and other needs.  He was put in charge of organising things, taught children and helped out with the teenagers by refereeing football matches for them.  He was never observed being grumpy or forlorn.  He gave up a chance for release by allowing his place to go to a pregnant lady.  He suffered greatly, he missed his family and missed the birth of his 3rd daughter.  He did all of this out of His love for Jesus and because this is how he serve Him.  He died 21st February 1945 (five months before the liberation of Japan) from a brain tumour. 

This man did everything well and worked hard.  He ran the race that God had set before Him.  It was a hard race; one if I had been on it, would have complained, moaned and most likely fallen at the first hurdle.  Some verses in Romans chapter 5: 1-5 say 'Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.'  

Thursday, 2 February 2012

A quote about Marriage.

My husband and I are reading a book about Marriage.  No, not THAT book but this one, 'The Meaning of Marriage' by Timothy Keller with Kathy Keller.  We read a little each night and have reached Chapter 2: 'The Power for Marriage.'

We read this tonight.

"The principle we have been describing serves as a corrective to a couple of the popular models for "having a satisfying marriage."

There is the conservative approach to marriage that puts a great deal of stress on traditional gender roles.  It says that the basic problem in marriage is that both husband and wife need to submit to their God-given functions, which are that husbands need to be the head of the family, and wives need to submit to their husbands.  There is a lot of emphasis on the differences between men and women.  The problem is that an overemphasis could encourage selfishness, especially on the part of the husband.

There is a more secular approach to marriage that says that the real problem in marriage is that you have to get your spouse to recognize your potential and help you to develop it.  You must not let your spouse trample all over you.  Self-realization is the goal.  You've got to develop yourself in your marriage, and if your spouse won't help you do it, you've got to negotiate.  And if your spouse won't negotiate, you've got to get out to save yourself.  That, of course, also can just pour gas on the fire of selfishness instead of putting it out.

The Christian principle that needs to be at work is Spirit-generated selflessness - not thinking less of yourself or more of yourself but thinking of yourself less.  It means taking your mind off yourself and realizing that in Christ your needs are going to be met and are, in fact, being met so that you don't look at your spouse as your saviour.  People with a deep grasp of the gospel can turn around and admit that their selfishness is the problem and that they're going to work on it  And when they do that, they will often discover an immediate sense of liberation, of waking up from a troubling dream.  They see how small-minded they were being, how small the issue is in light of the grand scheme of things.  Those who stop concentrating on how unhappy they are find that their happiness is growing.  You must lose yourself to find yourself."