Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Count your Blessings, name them one by one

Some of you are singing the words of this old hymn, I can hear you!

An exploration into Gratitude and Mindfullness every Wednesday morning for the next 5 weeks.

Today we made our start....

DVD set up, nibbles on the side, coffee mugs cupped in hands, four woman attentive to hear. stories.... vulnerability...all in the mix.

"Tell about a moment in your life that was hard and painful and lookd nothing like a gift. until later you began to discover that a gift was wrapped up in the pain of that moment"

DISCUSS....Oh boy.....

So today was all about wounds, what can cause us to close our hands and hearts to God....

Where does thankfullness and gratitude fit into that....

No one  said  "Enough Already!" and walked out, we're all signed up for the next 4 weeks!

Next week it looks as if we will be discussing: "slowing down and living fully in the moment", a little more like this I imagine:

A bit more Vivaldi and a little less Mahler....perhaps!

So today was a good beginning; today I began my Gratitude Journal.

The article below has some interesting suggestions regarding cultivating gratitude habits:

But for now, I have some "Between Sessions" homework to get to grips with!

Friday, 21 February 2014

2 hours 4 questions 6 women and I get to cook for you!

On 7th December 2010 I wrote in my journal that I dreamed of having planned evenings when I could cook for women and we could sit around a table and share our lives, our hopes, our struggles and our individual stories. Opportunities for encouragement, inclusion and authenticity; times to learn from each other.

How long have I been pondering this?!

I didn't want it to be about the food, although it would be fun to prepare, no, it was really about the conversation.....

Meaningful and straight  through the veneer.....

Were there women out there who would come? Not to talk about their shopping trips, their holiday or what little Jack did to his sister that afternoon....I wanted women who longed for something more; to make their lives count for something.

Daring to dream....Were they out there, these women? Were they living it? 

And then, this week I heard about IF:Table:

2 hours
4 questions
6 women

Sort of loosely based around these verses (hence the numbers)

Acts 2:46

New International Version (NIV)
46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts,

IF Gathering was a recent womens conference in Texas (just Google it if you're interested in the background story)

However, out of it came this same idea of women meeting in someone's home once a month to discuss 4 questions, prepared in advance, to download. Women across the world discussing the same subjects on the same evening, or at least during the same week, if possible!

The challenge was there! Right let's have a go, could be fun, people would know what they were coming to! They could decline if they wanted.

Many ideas of how my evening could look start sparking off in my head, straight away!

So, here we go: Explore 2014.....12 meals, 60 women ...better start thinking about invitations!

Any questions?!

 Added :17/03/14...... Date is fixed! First  If:Table is on 4th  April! We're off! Lots of positive responses, so looks as if I'll be inviting  ladies throughout the year.

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Retreat to advance?

I held the envelope tightly as I slid it through the pillar box, then I let go and screamed (quietly....ish)  Thankfully no one around as I turned to glance over my shoulder!

The deed was done, my deposit paid,  decision made:


6 days of no talking, except for 45 minutes with a spiritual director every morning.


May 2014: to be continued........

Responses from others have been wide ranging;

"I would get seriously depressed if I did that"


"Sheer bliss"

"This is hilarious!   You, not talking for a 6 days?!"


"Why can't you just book out time at home and save the money?"

"Can't think of anything worse!"

The application form was straightforward enough, well, except the "What Religious denonmination?" question. I always struggle with that one... Opted for "Christian" in the end..."Trying to be a follower of Jesus" sounded a bit weird, although I know what I mean!!

The form continued:

" State briefly what are you hoping for from this retreat?"   

Good question .....puts pen down and ponders....needs to be succinct...I am not succinct...

To learn to listen
To explore my place in the Church family
To practise solitude
oh and a heap of subheadings which I don't write down....

It is timely, it is an exciting year, this year of exploration....sometimes you just know that you know that you know.....but you can't explain, because inside of you is a creative mess of possibilities and questions, of hopes and apprehensions, of encouragements and excuses. You don't want to be inside my head at the moment!

Perhaps, just walk some of the journey with me....wherever that may lead.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Salt and Grit in equal measure

 At some point you have to stop the questioning, the dotting of "i"s and the crossing of "t"s and simply step forward from where you are....

Reading back on thoughts written down over weeks, months, even years the strands become a woven thread with a  constant theme over time. Journals can be helpful for that....

Sometimes you won't get the clear bright light of confirmation, but there is something that stirs within you...

You reach for your boots....and you open the door to the possibilities....

You explore, but you feel vunerable....and that's okay because all along there has been preparation for this....

An avalanche of words hit you, not the ones you want to hear....

Tempted to close the door, stay safe.....but unfulfilled if you dare admit it...

Hidden from view? Or walking out, in plain view, becoming who you were designed to become?

You may need this!

 Oh, the explanantion? For me this is personal:
Anyone may use a grit bin to clear a public path or road, though they are generally not intended for personal use. 

Typically, a spade or shovel  is used to spread a thin layer of grit onto the road surface, covering any snow or ice. 

The salt lowers the melting point of the snow causing it to melt. 

The grit component improves the friction between a vehicle's tyres/the wearer's shoes  and the road.

Gather the symbols that reflect the picture... The inner pictures in your mind may be just that, for you alone (and perhaps some close friends, who "get you!!!)

 All a little cryptic!!!

So, what are you walking out into this year? 

More to follow......

Monday, 27 January 2014

To Blog or not to Blog...that is the question....

So this is my "pop up office" today; for today holds another question I need to ask in my year of  the word Explore.

Someone once said "if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you always got!" and I remind myself of this quote every now and then....usually when I'm trying to avoid the scales or the thought of driving somewhere I don't know.

This year, however, if I am going to be true to my word of the year, then I need to think about what I want or need to explore.  Please note I didn't say achieve!  Exploration has the ring of  "suck it and see" as well as a journey theme.  It isn't about the destination but more to do with what I discover  about life (the universe and everything?!) along the way.  Could be interesting year!

So this brings me to the blogging question, because it is on the list  (page 4...truly! Subheading yadda yadda!) It also brings me back to the pop up office and the word intentional (never far away)  and all the What? When? Why? Where? Who? reasons for continuing.

 So  I'm going to have a think about this, but it could be a way of  putting some of my "adventures" out there and you could come along for the ride and be the encouragement I need in some areas! 

What do you think?


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