Monday, January 25, 2016

That's lovely - well done!

These were the words that a wonderful lady often repeated to her family and friends; words that I can hear being said in her kind, gentle, firm voice. Her family had painted them on her wooden casket, part of a creative, colourful tribute to this great Woman of God.
On Friday 22 January we spent two hours saying goodbye, with songs, tributes, laughter and tears.
There were no awkward moments - it mattered not when the candelabra had to be re-lit several times, or when the organist was a little slow. A sense of love and gratitude pervaded the place, through the tears.
Such opportunities strengthen all of us, as we build collective repositories from which to draw. After such a gathering, you come away with new resolve to pray more, and be kinder, and plough more into the lives of those nearest and dearest to you; new resolve, too, to be more hospitable and open-handed to everyone.

I had worn this bracelet, which represents the nine characteristics of the fruit of the Spirit:


The text for the sermon was that same "fruit of the Spirit", as Elizabeth truly displayed. This bracelet already had a special story attached to it; now it has another. Yet again, I am thrilled at God's blessing and grace.

Galatians 5:22
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Sports Day

Depending on your sporting ability, the heading you've just read will have made you cringe and curl your toes, or smile broadly; or maybe it will have had you sighing nostalgically.

I only really learned to throw and catch a ball by learning with my first toddler. In my school years, therefore, sports days for me were limited to shouting from the stands. On the few occasions I was forced to run a cross-country race, I toiled along plumply in my red scratchy gym-slip, with burning chest and flaming cheeks, coming last with one or two other friends who either genuinely were as slow as me, or elected to spare me the embarrassment of being ignominiously LAST, instead of just rather humiliating "in-the-final-group". Winning a point or two for one's House was no compensation for this torture.

Now, I find myself toeing the line, encouraging my own two boys to take part "because you should". This year I have the added ammunition of "It's your last year at primary school!" to fire at the older one. Thankfully, they are as athletic as I was not (ok, I'll pause while you re-read that). The younger one - tall and long-legged and fast - even took part in an exciting all-ages relay race, under the floodlights, right at the end of the day. This made our determined "We WILL stay to the end this time!" well worth while. AND our team won! Cheers and warm feelings all round.

I am thankful that I can share such times with my boys, as they learn patience and stick-ability and team spirit. There are new memories to replace my old, solitary ones. However, I remain thankful too that sports day comes but ONCE a year.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Beginnings

It is not the first day of the year, it is the third; but it IS my birthday, so that seems like a good place to begin. My birthday gift to myself is to begin this blog again; maybe it is my gift to you too. It is wonderful to be given gifts - sweets from my two boys, an unexpected and generous book voucher from my husband, together with words of appreciation that I know don't come lightly and easily for him. Then there was the gift of a visit to one of my favourite places: Butterfly World. Every lush plant and bloom is a treasure, each creature a delight. There is something to see at every turn; and then something more, as your eyes search the foliage for bright wings or curious bright eyes.


Duiker
The whole day went smoothly, with very little of the bickering and shouting that we all sometimes resort to as a family. What a blessing. Maybe I should treat every day as my birthday, letting the small troubles wash over me, being more peaceful and contented.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Life comes to meet you

A friend recently used this phrase, as we discussed some important changes I had experienced: "Life comes to meet you, doing more than you expect." This verse came to mind - here in "The Message" version:

"God is able to do anything, you know - far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does not do this by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us." Ephesians 3:20

So dream wildly - and life will come to meet you. Even better: God will be at work...

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The onion in the trolley

The weighed, labelled onion was in the small shopping trolley, and unguarded. I only turned my back for a moment, to get the tomatoes weighed - and it was gone. Both trolley and onion had vanished...
I spotted a pair of shoppers with a trolley I was sure they hadn't brought into the store with them. Had I seen them, from the corner of my eye, taking mine? I pursued them, and then stopped short, embarrassed: there was no onion! It couldn't be mine...But before I could express my apology, the younger of the two men was blushing and rushing off, to the laughter of the older one. He returned, onion in hand (fetched from where he had discarded it), and apologized. We all laughed and smiled, and it was clearly a matter for much joking between the two. We met up again in the checkout line, and the older man teased the younger, saying he should be paying for my onion he'd stolen. The younger one teased right back, saying how much trouble father-in-laws could get you into...
The onion in the trolley is destined to become a fond point of amusement between them, I am sure.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Cloud burst!

Yesterday's cloud burst here in Somerset West took us by surprise with its force and the swiftness with which roads became almost impassable. Main links between areas such as schools and Main Road were suddenly awash on both sides, leaving just one lane open down the middle. Those of us without 4x4s had to crawl along, while bigger vehicles forged ahead, thumbing their noses (or tyres) at us lesser conveyances. Arriving at a friend's home to drop off an item, I found his property inaccessible: the water was lapping the curb, and rushing through his garden and out into the road behind. His back wall has gaps at ground level for just this purpose. 
By the time I had reached school, navigated the flooded gutter, and fetched two children, the waters had completely drained away. The weather has flexed its muscles; we wait uneasily for the next bruising round.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Don't keep it too long

Today I had to throw away some previously-useful things. They had been kept for years by someone, then passed on to me. Some were envelopes, now stuck shut. Some were labels, whose glue was no longer sticky, leaving them useless.

Don't hoard things, or keep them to yourself. Have you been blessed with an excess of something? - share it, give it away.

How often do you think of doing good, but never put the thought into action? How many such ideas have lost their "stickiness"?

Resolve with me not to keep things - and ideas, Holy Spirit promptings - too long.