Wednesday, 27 January 2010

"Going with the flow, and trying to keep up!"

Well it has been a funny old week so far, everything has exceeded expectations and I am beginning to realise that "going with the flow" can actually mean moving at quite a pace! I am learning to step out of my comfort zones, knowing that He is in this day with me.

Yesterday,three of us from the team going to Delhi, met up in our local toyshop to spend some vouchers they had donated for us to buy toys for the children in the slum we will be visiting next month. The manager and her staff were really helpful and allowed us to be photographed with them in the shop with our purchases. I then went home and D and I prepared a press release about our trip, what the team would be doing, what part the shop had played, that sort of thing. The photo was duly attached and everything emailed over to the press office.

This afternoon I have a message that a journalist has phoned and wants to interview me to hear more about our trip and the local volunteers who will be part of the team. Now I am apprehensive, hoping I do Asha justice by saying things clearly...

The school presentation went well today. D&I spoke to 2 classes comprising of 52 9 year olds, who were delightful and had LOADS of questions! I have a sneaky feeling we may be doing more of these in the future. If anyone finds a baby doll which looks Indian could they let me know, I think I need a prop box now for these sorts of talks....may have to review the pillow case pregnancy kit too....

The backpack picture is something I have been asked to share at church on Sunday. Again I need to think about how I do this simply as it is supposed to be, especially as all the children will be listening too. My church family, how I have grown to love them!

Thankfully, the fact that my home looks a little scruffy this week, hasn't perturbed me too much. Samar has cooked most nights which has released me to work late (looking at fragility fractures in the elderly). We will all miss her when she goes, not only for her culinary skills! We could have taken out shares in garlic and lemons, the girl can do dressings with panache...oh and freshly ground black pepper!

The chickens have started laying again, the apricot tree and gooseberry bushes are in, the marmalade was an unqualified success, my first attempt, and all is well with the world....

I just need to keep up!

Monday, 18 January 2010

Day 5 and the Wake Up call continues!

The Challenge:

To practice being a better hear His voice..

The Dilemma:

I want to set aside time to do this as a purposeful act as well the "everyday conversations" I normally have, so how to practice this without becoming all legalistic about discipline, ritual and planning when I know it is all about going with the flow, at the moment.

"The Spirit is willing...but the flesh....."

After an initial struggle on the first morning having spent 10 minutes or so wrestling with the desire to stay in bed. I could hear this voice in my head, 20 minutes Julie, 20 minutes? I remembered the words of songs I had sung recently "I surrender all...." and "All I am is Yours", and here I was begrudging 20 minutes...hmmmm, so up I got and He spoke and I thought "I should do this more often" and so off we go...

The Deal:

We make a deal...If He wants me to wake up earlier to listen and pray, then could He wake me without the alarm clock?

Request 2... I'm going to have to take baby steps, so from 6am is okay and then we review it at some point.

So I wake up the next morning, turn to look at the clock....05.59 and then clicks into 06.00 before my eyes...I grin, God has a sense of humour. I am reminded of GroundHog day when the guy has this happen, day after day....

My ritual is, get the washing machine going, unload the dishwasher, get the chickens out, make a cup of tea, grab my Bible, find the throw and wrap it around me, sit and wait for God to speak or prompt me to read or pray for someone, whatever...I sit and sip my tea and the day begins!

So 5 days in and it is all very exciting! Only ignored the "wake up" on one day and then felt so disappointed that I'd missed out, notice, not beating myself up for turning over, just the same feeling you get if you arrive somewhere and you realise your friend has already been and gone and you could have had a good time together, that sort of feeling.

In Soundbites:

Yes I am hearing Him speak to me about a variety of things!

I am finding it a helpful discipline.

Listening is important for 2010.

The mornings before everyone gets up, works well for me.

Dick gets coffee in bed every morning at the moment, instead of taking turns!

If I don't get woken up, I won't fret, it just isn't for THAT day.

It is a small start, but God just wants me to want to be there!

I'll keep you informed!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Going with the Flow....

Well, Little Miss Structure is quite surprised at herself, so far...she is not only coping without a set pattern to her day, but is also feeling quite "chilled out" about the whole thing! It's all very odd, I feel as if I am on holiday....weird and yet so so releasing in a "it is well with my soul" sort of way. There is an inner contentment and calm, the day seems to have a rhythm and everything gets done, sometimes faster, sometimes more slowly and thoughtfully. People pop in, phones ring,interruptions happen, yet none of this seems to interrupt the flow of the day. I can't explain it, except to say I have an inner peace that seems to hold it all in place. I am not writing in the dust yet and I am cooking and sewing and knitting, studying, thinking,listening, going off to work, reflecting, meeting up with friends and praying, yep, the first fortnight has been a good beginning...

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Backpacks and the journey

I had a picture for the start of the year. It was an old faded blue denim backpack, not a huge one full to capacity and heavy to carry, but one that looked as it it might have one or two items in it, but laying fairly flat against my back. I had been trying to write down my challenges for 2010, what I would aspire to, targets, lists, those of you who like lists are nodding in an understanding way. It was not going well, the list making. Somehow, what was taking shape in my brain wasn't looking right on paper. I stopped....what was going on?

I should have been at a New Years Eve party, I've been going to one every year for as along as I can remember, but this year it has been different. I have needed to stop and listen as if I need to prepare for 2010 and whatever it holds or us, either as a family, our church family or as a nation. It feels as if the year needs to be entered into thoughtfully and with purpose in a sort of "bring it on" roll up the sleeves type of way. I'm not preaching doom and gloom, but I do think it will be significant year and I wondering if others are thinking the same, I don't think I am "off the wall"!

I thought about the back pack again. It was about my lists, my challenges, my resolutions, if you like...It wasn't going to be about what I take into the year, it would begin with what I leave out, what is unnecessary and a hindrance, what needs to remain in 2009, so to speak....

The challenge came in a quiet thought "what about if we do it differently this year, each day you make the decision to connect with Me and you will gather and learn as each day passes. These will be added to your backpack, which will never become too heavy, but will be filled with the experiences and adventures of the year. The key is to Connect...with the moment, the conversation, the person, the sadness, wherever the Partnership takes us for this year. Are you up for the challenge?"

So no routine as I know it then, each day a rhythm of it's own. "It's not about disorder is it?" I ask with a pained expression, being someone who isn't so much Little Miss Structure" as she used to be and can cope with the people who put toilet rolls the wrong way round and don't iron their tea towels...but I needed the reassurance. "A new way to walk through the day does not mean you ignore your responsibilities..." I am okay with that...

So I've "signed up" and what happens, SNOW in the nation and everyone's routines are
thrown into disarray!!!!

Anyone else want to come along for the adventure, to be there when it is hilarious, scary or sad, affirming and fact Life In All It's Fullness! I wonder what your backpack looks like!

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

It's snowing!!!!!!

So after all my "Yeovil NEVER gets snow" comments, we woke up to about 5", I guess, this morning! I crunched my way down the garden at 06.30, it was breathtakingly beautiful and SO quiet...

Fox prints revealed the extent of the wanderings around my chicken enclosures last night. He/she seems to have a regular circuit criss-crossing the garden at the same hedges...however, the girls were safely tucked up and so far my "off the scale" risk assessments/Fort Knox reinforcements have meant we haven't had a repeat of the incident where Xena Fox Fighter Warrior Princess gained her name, unfortunately at the loss of her sister in 2006. (There is a previous note about it in the archives here)

As you can see they were NOT impressed when I said "Good Morning" to them, preferring to turn their backs to all the scenery for the viewing. In fact it's 11.45 and they are STILL refusing to come down!

This picture is for Ramzi, to show him Hattie in the snow!

We have put the Chrstmas tree out at Samar's request, unfortunately the tree has blown over, but I will add a better one at the end!

This is my ladybird house which never made it into a hedge. It looks like a minature world, I took a photo, just because!

The decorations are down and somehow it seems more fitting to remove them when it is snowing outside and still feels festive, make a tedious job more fun.....I keep treading on sharp pine needles, serves me right for walking around in socks!

As I write, there is a smell of burning....Samar, who usually breaks something whilst she is here (we tease her mercilessly!!!) has managed to get though her stay by merely chucking arabic coffee across my beige carpet....(Vax out later)We thought we were safe..but no.....

We take her to the station in 2 hours! She's gonna kill me! All I an say is LOOK OUT USA!!!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

2010, bring it on, I'm rolling up my sleeves...

Lord, for the years your love has kept and guided,
urged and inspired us, cheered us on our way,
sought us and saved us, pardoned and provided:
Lord for the years, we bring our thanks today.

Lord, for that word, the word of life which fires us,
speaks to our hearts and sets our souls ablaze,
teaches and trains, rebukes us and inspires us:
Lord of the word, receive your people's praise.

Lord, for our land in this our generation,
spirits oppressed by pleasure, wealth and care:
for young and old, for commonwealth and nation,
Lord of our land, be pleased to hear our prayer.

Lord, for our world where men disown and doubt you,
loveless in strength, and comfortless in pain,
hungry and helpless, lost indeed without you:
Lord of the world, we pray that Christ may reign.

Lord for ourselves; in living power remake us--
self on the cross, and Christ upon the throne,
past put behind us, for the future take us:
Lord of our lives, to live for Christ alone.

(Timothy Dudley-Smith 1967)


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