Thursday, 23 May 2013

Ancient and Modern Combined.

I am reading a few devotional books at the moment.  One is a compilation of different Bible verses set in themes for the day.  The other is a daily hymn with a short biographical section about the author or composer.  It is a great book, although so far no good hymns have been written since about 1920!

Last Saturday, our church did a sponsored walk.  I felt that the 7 miles around the Lake was too much at the moment. However, not to let a small thing like heart surgery get in the way I decided to walk half of it.  My husband found a place we could park half-way around the route, and we met the rest of the walkers near the beach.  Whilst waiting for them to arrive, I read my daily hymn (it is a kindle book on my phone).  I  sat on a rock looking at some beautiful trees, a wonderfully built old house on the hill in the distance, a fresh water lake to my right and the sea to my left.  The sound of water gently lapping the edge of the sand bar and birds singing were all around me.  The scene was absolutely idyllic.  This was the hymn I read:

"This is my Father's world, and to my listening ears
All nature sings and round me rings the music of the spheres. 
This is my Father's world:   I rest me in the thought 
Of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; 
His hand the wonders wrought.

This is my Father's world, the birds their carols raise,
The morning light, the lily white, declare their Maker's praise.
This is my Father's world:  He shines in all that's fair;
In the rustling grass I hear Him pass;
He speaks to me everywhere.

This is my Father's world, O let me ne'er forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong, God is the ruler yet.
This is my Father's world:  the battle is not done:
Jesus who died shall be satisfied,
And earth and Heav'n be one."

By Maltbie Davenport Babcock 

How wonderful to have an opportunity to look at the wonderful things around me.  On the walk I noticed amazing blossom, deep purply bluebells, cows bumbling in their field munching their breakfast of grass, a cheeky robin, bright yellow gorse and many other spectacular examples of Creation.  I enjoyed that early morning walk around the Lake and was glad to be able to take part.

Looking at the house on the hill from my rock.  Imagination is required for the lake and sea.  This photo does no justice to the beauty or ambiance of the scene.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee - My style

A long time ago in a land far away, I had to choose what exams I wanted to take at 16.  I have vague memories of a blue/grey piece of paper with columns on it.  All the students were to select a subject from a variety of different areas, eg, a Humanity (History), a Language (German), a Science (Biology) etc.  We were also allowed topick an Art; as I have blogged before that is a no-go area for me.  So I decided to have a go at Needlework.  I have no idea what led me to that subject as I do not remember hours as a child with needle and thread, but then I do not remember much from my childhood but that is another post altogether.

Over the 2 years studying Needlework I am sure that I learnt many techniques and how to sew with different fabrics.  Eventually I got a CSE in Needlework, after making a passable Pinafore Dress with a long-sleeved T-shirt to match and a cuddly dog.

A few years after gaining that exam I made a wedding dress and 2 bridesmaids' dresses for my wedding.

 I made the flowers for the sleeves, the large bow at the back and  all the covered buttons and loops whilst commuting to work and during my lunch times.  Not a bad effort, even if I do say so myself.  It is nearly 20 years since that picture was taken and I have not done a great deal of sewing since.  I have made another wedding dress and a few more bridemaids' dresses, as well as the obligatory outfit for the school dress up days.

I have had a lot of time on my hands recently, and before my surgery I planned to do a lot of reading and teaching myself a new craft. To be perfectly honest, I did not think the latter would happen as I know my personality and how I can get side-tracked.  However, somebody alerted me to the 'Great British Sewing Bee' and I was inspired to dust off the sewing machine.  Over the years, I have found many excuses why I have not done any proper dress-making; laziness, 'I am far too busy' and the cost of materials (which will still be a sticking point so I am on the look-out for cheap fabrics!)  I have a very large box full of materials and found some which I have managed to turn into a dress for my youngest daughter.  I found a pattern which I adapted and fitted to her size.  I am pleased with the way it has turned out (although being me I can list all the mistakes I can see but I am fighting that tendency. :))

My next project is a Maxi Dress for my other daughter.  I am researching patterns and will need to make one up myself.

Friday, 10 May 2013

Parenting is not for wimps.

Although, it might turn you into one or a blubbering wreck.  :)

We have had an issue bubbling around in our house for a very long time.  It has effected our family in a massive way.  My daughter had got into the habit of screaming.  All the time. It has been her 'go-to' response to everything.  As her mum I thought there was nothing I could do, it was the way she was made.  I was in a lot of despair about the whole thing as it was becoming the background soundtrack of our family.  I prayed.  I prayed with my husband.  A very close friend prayed.  Nothing seemed to help.  I got to the point where reading facebook was painful; my family was nothing like all the shiny, happy ones I read about on my friends' pages.

Last week we got the answer to our prayers.  I was expecting a very different answer, not one that required  humiliation on my part.  One day last week very early before school, something triggered my daughter to go into one of her screaming sessions.  I responded in my usual way. And then there was a knock on the door.  Our neighbour came to tell us she couldn't stand it any more.  She had put up with it for nearly 5 years.  It had to stop.  (And lots of other things that don't need repeating here.)  It was not a pleasant experience to be told your daughter was awful.  It was not nice to find out your neighbour thought you allowed your daughter to rule the roost.  I did not want to be told that my parenting skills were lacking in that area.  It is something I never want to have to go through again.

BUT it was the answer to my prayers.  It was the wake-up call I needed to put my parenting onto another track. It was the jolt I needed to apologise for mistakes made and to promise to do things in a different way.  I would not have chosen that answer; my answer looked more like this:  My daughter came to the understanding that her behaviour had consequences through her own maturity.  I am sure that the road ahead will be rocky but so far, it has been easier.  The structures in place leave more time for building positive relationships in our home, and I have been reminded that underneath all that screaming a beautiful girl has been hidden all along. 

I thank God for this happening and am grateful to my neighbour for having the courage to come around and let us know her thoughts on this.  I somehow feel liberated now that the screaming has (all but) stopped, my head and heart are clearer and I am able to work other things through better. 

Friday, 3 May 2013

Old Boys Network??

Yesterday, I read the name of an American Pastor in 3 different blogs (and I am sure it appeared in lots of others).  He just happens to have a book coming out.  I had never heard of this chap before.  I read the first blog post and thought, "Looks interesting, I might look into this book and his blog."  And when I saw his name in the second post I thought, "Wow, maybe I really ought to take a look.  Perhaps this is a sign."  However, when I read his name on a 3rd post I realised that this was a way to promote said book. I felt a modicum of disappointment, although I couldn't tell you why.  Maybe, it was because it did not feel like coincidence that his name appeared in 3 blogs on the same day.

More and more in the Christian blogsphere, I am noticing these kinds of connections.  I read some fantastic bloggers/writers, and never see them quoted or publicised elsewhere (and if it was not for the fact I do not have their permission I would put their blog titles here.)  They don't Guest Post "XYZ" ever. 

There is a phrase:  "It is not what you know but who you know that counts."  And that is true in many walks of life, including Church Circles.  I hope this is not what is happening here because sometimes there seems to be that vibe to it.  Occasionally, it feels like the 'Old Boy's Network' that the same bloggers are so desperately trying to escape from. 

Maybe, this is my cynicism showing through, lets hope it is the case.