Friday, 16 August 2013

God's butterfly touch

Came across this beautiful poem today in this daily prayer book.....

The man whispered, ‘God speak to me’
and a meadowlark sang.
But the man did not hear.
So the man yelled, ‘God, speak to me’
and the thunder rolled across the sky.
But the man did not listen.
The man looked around and said,
‘God, show me a miracle!’
and new life was born.
But the man did not know.

So the man cried out in despair,
‘Touch me, God,
and let me know you are here!’
whereupon God reached down
and touched the man.
But the man brushed the butterfly away,

and walked on.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Talitha Koum! Get up, little girl!

Today's reading was the story of Jairus' daughter, in Mark 5:35-43. Jairus, the leader of the synagogue, an important man, is desperately worried about his daughter who is dying. He turns to Jesus for help. On the way there he is told it is too late, she has died. Jesus carries on regardless, turfs out all the weeping mourners, and chooses just 3 disciples and the child's parents to witness the miracle. 

What struck me today was all the little details included - the girl's age, the actual words Jesus uses, that He held her hand, and that he told the parents to give her something to eat. This is surely the memory of one who was present. I wonder who passed the story on - Peter? James? John? Or maybe the girl's parents? Can you picture them retelling it, from person to person, till it got written down?

I dwelt on the words Jesus used -Talitha Koum! - which means "Little girl, get up!" Can you hear the love in those words?

Get up, Little One!
God's got a job for you.
By your very living
you will proclaim God's healing power,
His loving care for his children.

Get up, Little One!
Show the world there is hope
when all seems lost.

Get up, Little One!
Show everyone that Death is not final,
that Love triumphs over all.

Get up, Little One!
And be my witness
to the world.

And, one day,
when you are old
and Death comes for you again,
I shall take your hand once more
and say "Get up, Little One!"
as your spirit joins mine for ever.

Monday, 12 August 2013

Lectio Divina - Legion, the Gerasene

Lectio Divina - reading the Bible in a meditative way, imagining yourself there in that situation, looking for meaning.

The reading for this morning's daily prayers was the story of the man from Gerasa who is so filled with demons he calls himself 'Legion'. As I read it, tears filled my eyes. I understood some of his pain as I have had depression myself and witnessed my husband captive to his own fears. I needed to write what I felt, so I share it with you now....

That poor man;
A legion of conflicting voices
waging war in his head,
tearing him apart,
tossing his battered mind from one to another
like a precious object
thrown by malicious bullies,
while he stood by
helpless and weeping.
The pain he must have felt!
The agony of helplessness
that made him roar and rage,
beyond any man's help - 
how could they see
the war inside him?
How could they know how it felt,
when even cutting your body
to try to release the demons
seems your only help.

And then Jesus came-
Compassion shining in His eyes,
Hope radiating from His healing hands.

And at first the man was afraid.
How would it be to be free?
This terror was so awful,
but it was his terror,
familiar to him.
What - who -  would he be without it?
It had been so long now,
he couldn't remember 
what sanity was like.

And Jesus looked,
and He touched,
and He healed.
And suddenly the fear was gone.
The weight was lifted!
The dark, rumbling clouds
replaced with blue sky and sunshine.
He could see again - 
truly see!
The distorted, haunted,
ghost-screaming world
replaced with beauty and love,
and hope!

Then he remembered who he was - 
a beloved Child of God,

And as he wept at Jesus' feet, 
all the angels of heaven
wept and rejoiced with him.
He was Home at last.

Image from Google search 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Empty feeling prayers

Sometimes when I pray I feel alight and alive, filled with joy and energy. Other times I feel  nothing; the words of the prayer book are just sounds my mouth makes, echoing in an empty room, and in the free prayer time I can't think of anything to say.

When I leave prayer time rejoicing I praise God for it, but when I leave feeling flat and disgruntled I feel guilty and apologise to God for not doing better. This morning was just such a 'nothing/empty words' time and, when I began to apologise, I felt God saying this;

          Don't put yourself down just because you didn't feel good during prayers.
          Feeling is irrelevant. Your prayers are surely heard, no matter how good 
          or bad you feel during or after them. You have set aside time to pray, time 
          to be with God, and that's what matters.

          I don't act on prayers according to how much you felt them. I act on all
          prayers because they are addressed to Me. If you feel good afterwards,
          that is a bonus. My Spirit still flows through you, whether you feel it or not.

Wow! What a loving God we have! Praise His name!

Mother Julian

Monday, 18 March 2013

Sanctuary, Sanctuary!!

My ears need sanctuary today from the noise of the Flooring People removing the tiles downstairs in my living and dining rooms! (Not that the men themselves are making the noise you understand, just the machine they're using.) However, the sanctuary in the title is my newly refurbished bedroom.

 In August 2011 things had got so bad with my husband's alcoholism that I couldn't bear sharing a room with him anymore, so I bought myself a bed from a charity shop and moved into the tiny spare room. The main bedroom was just awful - food, urine, blood and faecal stains on the carpet, the bed broken where he'd fallen on it so many times, and the smell!!!! Urrgghh! This tramp, this unwashed, unshaven stranger who used to be my loving husband.....  

Anyway, a few months after God took him home for healing, I decided to reclaim the room as a joyous, peaceful sanctuary. I ripped out the carpet and dismantled the bed. I took down the built-in wardrobe (which I'd never liked) and gave it all a thorough clean. I decided to paint the walls a healing green, a Springtime colour. It needed several coats as the original colour was deep pink on one wall, and lavender blue on the others. I had new doors fitted on all the upstairs rooms - most of them used to stick or wouldn't shut properly. I had the beautiful wooden floor sanded, stained and sealed, and I vowed to furnish it with used items as far as possible - and to leave a big space in the middle for dancing prayers!!

So, at long last, here it is.....

On the outside of the door is this beautiful plaque 
which my daughter brought back from her visit to Ireland....

...and on the back of the door are some Shaker style pegs.

The head of the bed is in the niche that used to be the built-in wardrobe. During the day the bed is covered to protect against muddy paw prints.

This is a close up of the pretty coverlet I bought from Sainsburys.

Here is the bed without the protection - as modelled by Bramble, who wanted to see what I was up to. I made the duvet cover and pillowslip myself, using a beautiful yellow gingham with daisies  fabric, an old white sheet, and some little yellow ribbon roses. It doesn't really show properly in the picture, unfortunately.

The curtains are made of the same fabric. When the sun shines through it's like daffodils in Springtime!

Above my bed hangs this lovely cross, bought on a visit to Walsingham. It has the Lord's Prayer on it, and is so bright and colourful.

The bedside cabinet came from the shop at our local recycling plant. On it you see two Bibles (KJV and GNB), alarm clock, reading glasses, pen and paper - for thoughts that occur in the night!

Here is a chest of drawers for clothes, with a mirror, hairbrush and rosary on top - and Luna's back end as she passes by!

This beautiful old chest of drawers is another charity shop find. On top is an old dressing table set I got from Ebay a few years ago.

Here is a close-up of the back of the clothes brush, so you can see the embroidered (silk?) back.

My lovely little wardrobe, and a stand, both charity shop finds. I have to tie the handles together to stop certain kitties from trying to find their way to Narnia then getting trapped cos I haven't noticed they're there.

This Ottoman belonged to hubby's parents. 

My lovely, lovely wash stand!! It's actually a tea trolley that belonged to hubby's Gran. On the top layer is an enamel bowl from Ebay, enamel jug from QD, soap dish from charity shop and home made deodorant. In the middle is a towel and flannel, and at the bottom is a metal bucket for used water, covered with an old towel, dyed, and used to stand on when I wash. (Also useful to stop a daft Bramble from trying to drink the soapy water!) I soooooo love taking my time with my morning ablutions in my own room, and it will be really useful on a hot Summer's day to just refresh myself here.

Look how pretty the soap dish is!

I've always wanted a bureau! This is another charity shop find. You must think the charity shops near me are bulging with such bargains, but sometimes I have waited months before finding what I wanted.

Inside. The ink stand was bought from Ebay several years ago - it's good to have a proper place for it now.

On top of the bureau is this Willow Tree figure. I love the simplicity of the Willow Tree 'sculptures', the way feelings are shown by the inclination of the head and position of the body. When I had come to terms with being on my own, I bought this figure because she represents me in my new phase of life - she is thoughtfully sitting, contemplating God and the simple life He has given her, serene and content.

And, finally, a picture I intend to hang when I can find where I have put the hammer and nails. The picture itself was found by Google image search, and the quote is from an online story by my lovely web friend, Ember. In case you can't read it, here is a close-up...

So there we are......hope you enjoyed the tour, and may all who read this post find their own places of serenity and sanctuary  x x 

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Decisions, decisions

Hi everyone. (Hi Dr. Nick! Oops sorry, slipped into The Simpsons then for a minute...)

I haven't left the planet, I've just been busy sorting things out in the house. I have, at last, completed the main bedroom and moved in but I want to tell you more about that when I've taken some pictures, and I want to take the pics on a sunny day so you can see the room at its best.

I shall be very busy this week too, as I have to move everything out of my living and dining rooms so they can be re-floored. I've enjoyed ripping up the old, grotty carpet - very cathartic! As Facebook friends will know, I found an old local newspaper beneath the carpet, dated February 1976!!!!! Even more bizarre was the fact it was the very issue which had a birthday greeting for my cousin's 18th in it! Under the carpet are some old tiles ('Marley' tiles, according to the flooring chap.) which are a very uninspiring brown colour. They are also very cold on the feet! I've been using a folded blanket by my feet, or a footstool, when I relax in the evenings. Tiles also have less friction, as my cat discovered when he ran through at top speed (as is his wont) and went skidding across the floor! Hee hee!

Hopefully, in two weeks' time, I shall have a beautiful wooden floor. But the decisions that have to be made....!!! Did I want real wood or laminated? That was an easy one - real. Which shade? Which width? Which stain? Pre-treated? (And all this accompanied by a long history of how good France is at growing wood.) I'd just got my head round it all and got a date fixed, when he suddenly launched into skirting boards. Apparently they have to rip out the existing ones, which are then rarely good enough to be re-used. So do I want this one with all the ridges in? Or this one with none? Round edged? Straight edged? Wide? Narrow? What have you got already (No idea!), as it needs to match the rest of the house (Why? Doesn't bother me!). Aaaaaaarrrrggghhh! I don't know! Just bung a bit of wood round the edges for goodness sake - it's only there to stop the hoover/carpet sweeper bashing the walls!!!!

Deep breath now, Hawthorne. Calm. Trees gently waving in the summer breeze....

It had better all be worth it, that's all I can say!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Belated Happy New Year!

Hi everyone! How's 2013 going for you so far? May it get even better as the year goes on.

Let me catch you up with some of the things I've been up to. The main reason I haven't posted for a while is that I got myself a Christmas job at Boots (Chemist and beauty shop). 
Sorry about the picture quality - it was taken on my mobile phone. I worked full time, 5 days a week, from 7.30 till 4.30. That 7.30 start was a killer! I was up each morning at 6, which is really difficult for this bed-lover, in order to feed my two cats, rabbit and wild birds before leaving. It was also really hard setting off in the dark and returning in the dark, so I made sure I went out during my lunchtimes to see daylight. 
As for the job itself, it was really manual work; lots of opening boxes, lifting stuff, loading trolleys, shelf stacking, shelf tidying, and helping customers find where things are in store - AND I LOVED IT!!! Having been a Primary School teacher for 27 years, it was so good to do such a physical job without all the mental stress and, best of all, no work to do in the evenings and on Sundays!
What I completely forgot to factor in for a Christmas job was that I would need to work at Christmas! I had Christmas day and New Year's Day off but was back there for the Boxing Day sales. When Daughter came home from uni for the hols I only saw her in the evenings and on Tuesdays and Sundays. Never mind. It was a really good experience, and a good thing for the c.v. They said they were really pleased with me for 'mucking in and getting on with it' and wouldn't hesitate to employ me again.

I must admit it's been lovely to take my time again now, and my cats love that I'm around to make a fuss of them. Here's Bramble, my boy cat, hiding under the doormat, waiting to ambush his sister when she comes down the stairs:

And here he is again, this time in the kitchen, having batted something under the mat:

Here's his sister, Luna, taking a nap on the back of the couch:

I've done a little cooking too - Spicy Roots and Lentils Casserole. From this..... this:

And I used the Gooseberries I bottled last summer to make a yummy pie for dessert:

Flopsy enjoyed eating the ends of carrots and parsnips left over:

We've had snow here for the past week and my water butts have completely frozen up. Should have insulated them! I like to use the water to flush my toilet, so  I thought to myself "Now what would my ancestors have done for water in these circumstances?" I expect you're already yelling the obvious answer at the screen, but it took me a whole day to realise.....melt snow of course!!! Durrrr!!! So, much to the cats' mystification, I put three buckets worth next to the radiator:
 I was surprised to find it took most of the day to melt. I knew from science lessons, and milk bottles on the doorstep, that frozen water takes up more space than melted water, but those three buckets only yielded one bucket of water. and learn.

And finally, here's a picture of my favourite Christmas pressie, which Daughter got me from my wish list on Amazon - a hurricane lamp!!
Isn't it beautiful?  I had the wick too high at first, which has left a sooty stain on the glass, but I've got the hang of it now. I found almost odourless indoor lamp oil at The Range (nearby shop) so I am very happy!

Blessings to all who read this blog!  x x 

P.S. Oops! Just noticed I've posted pics of Bramble's ambush before. Oh well, it still makes me laugh every time I come downstairs and see that tail sticking out.