Little Girl Theology

My friend Rachel just posted this on Facebook; a conversation between two of her daughters…

Lily (age 5) :  “Mom I know there is a door that separates heaven and hell. It is the shape of a cross, and only the people that believe in Jesus know how to open the door.”

Hope (almost 7) : “Well, if I ever go to hell, I’m gonna pull Satan’s arm pit hair. I hear Satan’s too fat to get through the door anyway.”

I love those girls! And I’m so impressed and encouraged by their theology 🙂

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Flip that frown upside down

Today started out as a REALLY crappy day.

A few days ago my dad called my sister to say he was going back to Afghanistan in 2 weeks, to take up his job at the Airbase in Kandahar. My sister told my mum, who told me. I didn’t get so much as a text from my dad. And then yesterday, I spoke to my mum who said that my sister had received a text from my stepmum saying my dad had flown out “a few days early” and was already in Afghanistan.

Cue heartache. The thing is, I’m not upset that he’s there. It really makes no difference to me whether he is in Plymouth or Afghanistan – actually it could be that it will be easier now he’s there because there is an excuse for having little/no contact.

What hurts is that I didn’t even get a call to say he would be leaving, and nothing before he decided to fly out early.

I had such angry, horrible dreams and woke up in such a bad mood that I had to cancel plans with Eleanor because I knew I would be terrible company. I just needed to spend time with Jesus. And I cried.

We’re talking ugly, hiccupy, big tears crying. I only ever seem to do that over my dad.

It’s a complicated relationship. No matter how crappy a dad he is, I always hope that something will change. And then when something like this happens, even though every time I say that I won’t be surprised, it feels like I’ve been punched in the stomach.

I hate that it upsets me so much, because I feel like I should be used to it right now. But no matter how much I pretend that it’s ok that he doesn’t call, text, or really make an effort to know me at all, I still feel like a lost little girl when things like this happen.

But after a call to my mum and time with Jesus, listening to worship music and praying/crying for a while, I felt a little better. Tasha and I went to my friend Karen’s because her parents were having a get-together with people from church and I was reminded that while my biological family are, for the most part, pretty rubbish (immediate family excluded) …

I am blessed to have an absolutely amazing church family.

It was so much fun, I think I’m actually bruised from laughing so much. We ate, drank and were merry – and I spent time chatting with people I didn’t know so well before. We even played board games, it was just genuinely the exact thing that I needed. I am so thankful for a God that knows what I need… at a time when I was feeling heartbroken (for the thousandth time) and desperate, he takes me to a place where I can be comforted and loved.

Just what I need.

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Summer’s almost done…for reals

Somehow we’re halfway through September. I don’t know how it happened!! Canterbury has had great weather in the last few weeks which has lulled me into a prolonged sense of enjoying summer, but this evening I had to find a comfy jumper and a pair of socks, and it was dark at around 7.30pm…a definite sign that autumn is on its way.

Fortunately I like autumn so I don’t mind if it’s on its way. (I like all the seasons, when I think about it…which makes me sound quite like a hippy but would that be a bad thing?!)

I realised tonight that I haven’t updated about my Summer Bucket List – so here it is.

I’m kind of gutted that I haven’t managed to complete all of them… like visiting friends and skyping with Rachel, but as I said at the last update, I do have plans to do it! The only one that won’t get done this summer is spending a day with my three sisters together because Rebecca is now back at Uni (and newly engaged!) so while I’m going home for the first week of October, she won’t be there. I’ll still have a day out with Abigail and Jessica though, which will be lovely.

Now, what did I accomplish…

fruit picking! My mum and Abigail came to visit at the end of August and one evening Mum and I took a walk down to the river and picked 3lbs of blackberries from the hedge. It was like being a child again, I remember so many late summers with my family, all of us with plastic tubs and bags reaching in through the prickles to get the biggest, juiciest ones. Of course, then we had 3lbs of blackberries to use, so we made jam and a blackberry and apple pie. Delightful!

eating something I grew – I am so happy to say that my little balcony garden has grown way beyond my wildest dreams. I’ve eaten cherry tomatoes, peas and teeny carrots. The carrots are still growing and today I pulled some more. They’re getting bigger each time I pick them, but I need to keep picking them to allow the ones that are left to grow more. I have to say, growing my own plants is way more exciting than I thought it would be!

finish reading the Bible – I finished!! I was due to finish at the end of August but as I had holidays and didn’t keep up, I actually finished on 9th September. I’ve started again, skipping over the beginning of Genesis because I’ve read it many times before. This time through, I’m keeping a journal and recording what verses stick out to me and writing down prayers too.

have a picnic – when Mum and Abigail were visiting, we went to Howletts Zoo with my brother, and had a picnic there. It was lovely, like being kids again.

going camping – well, it wasn’t quite camping, but my small group and I went away for a weekend together. We stayed at a Caravan Park about 45 minutes from Canterbury and had a great time. 8 adults and 3 kids, eating lots of food, laughing, watching DVDs, playing games and sharing life and Jesus together. A more detailed post will follow, I hope!

Things I have plans to do include making s’mores bars. We were going to do it on our weekend away but it was too windy for the fire 😦 So I’m going to make s’mores bars from a recipe I found on pinterest. (I wonder how many people in the world are trying recipes that they’ve pinned…)

I have a date in my diary with my friend Maddy, who lives just outside of London, and I am going to spend a Sunday with my friend Rachel who lives with her husband near Camden. We just haven’t figured out dates yet because we’re both so busy. Gone are the simple University times when we saw each other practically every day … this is real life and it needs scheduling.

The final thing I definitely want to do is Skype with my other friend Rachel who lives in the US. I really want to do this, I love talking with her and she is so wise about life and her heart for God is really encouraging. She’s just started a blog which I’m loving too.

So, there we have it. My summer – almost over. But let’s not be sad. I’m going to embrace the autumn and use it as an opportunity. I’m not quite sure what for, but we will see! A friend of mine is doing a month of movies in October, watching a new movie every day and blogging about it. I’m not sure I’m that dedicated, but I’m open to suggestions.

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Celebrating the paralympics

Tonight is the Closing Ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympics.

I have to confess, I haven’t watched as much of these Games as I did of the Olympics – in part because of the different broadcaster. I only have channel 4 and e4 on my freeview, so when coverage switched to more4 I wasn’t able to keep up – but what I have watched has just been amazing.

I’ve been so inspired by these athletes – who are showing the world that they are athletes first and foremost, and their lives are not dictated by their disabilities. I’ve also been challenged about my own preconceptions – I would love to say that I am completely non-judgemental and not prejudiced at all, but watching the Paralympics has really convicted me that while I may not discriminate against disabled people in that I absolutely agree they are equal and have the same rights as non-disabled people, I have held the view that they are limited in some way.

This is probably a very common misconception, and it’s not borne out of a nasty or vindictive spirit – instead I think that the Paralympics has highlighted that we are a nation of very ignorant people.

Margaret Maughan, who participated in the very first Paralympic Games in 1960

Fortunately there have always been people who thought differently, and recognised the extraordinary talents of disabled people. (For more about the origins of the Paralympics watch this stunning drama, the Best of Men www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01m1jqd/The_Best_of_Men/ )

I am so thankful for the dramatic change in attitude, from society then and society now. Today’s children and young people are witnessing one of the greatest sporting events ever, which shows that while someone has a physical disability, there is nothing that can diminish their potential.

During my second year of University I spent 9 months working with L’Arche, a community for people with disabilities. They were mainly over fifty, and the majority had spent a large proportion of their lives in institutions. Why? Because society said that as disabled people, they were imperfect. It was widely believed that it was better for everyone if they were hidden away. This meant that an entire generation of disabled people were kept secret, shunned and denied the chance for meaningful relationships and to achieve their full potential.

Like I said, I’m thankful for the change in attitude, and for the incredible people who have brought it about. I really hope that the Paralympics will help further the change in our society, so that in the future people will find it hard to believe that there was ever a time when disabled people were treated differently, as lesser citizens.

Hooray for the Paralympians!

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Ideas

I am having a merry old Christmas time right now. Yes, I know that it’s only September 7th, and I know that I blogged about not wanting to wish away my time – but having said all those things…I’m still planning ahead.

Why?

Well. My church has a now-annual Ladies’ Shopping Event at the end of November, where lots of people have stalls selling home-made crafty things – mostly with a Christmas theme. There is live music, free mulled wine and mince pies and a great atmosphere with all the lovely ladies from the church. I love it.

Last year it snuck up on me, so I didn’t have a stall. Rosie and I waitressed and gave out mince pies instead! But this year, I thought I’d make use of all my Pinterest fun and get started early so that I have plenty of good things to sell.

So far my ideas include:

Mix and match crayons – I think these are so cute and I could do blends of the same colour, but different shades (e.g. apple green/sage green/olive green) and package them in rainbow sets

Scent bags – dried Christmassy scents; cinammon, orange, clove and spices…to make the house smell yummy

I think these cards are just SO cute, I love the simplicity. I’d  need masses of buttons, but I found a supplier on eBay!

I made stockings two Christmasses ago, and attached them to ribbon so that they could be strung across the mantelpiece. It was very cute, but they weren’t very substantial and also weren’t able to be used – purely decorative – so I think I’d do proper ones to be used, and line them. I also have some fleece that could go along the top if the fabrics are plain.

Hand warmers!! I was thinking about making some little microwavable heatpacks, but these could be really sweet stocking gifts!

This is my favourite idea, probably – making centrepieces from saltdough; cutting out stars to make a tower! I had the idea in my head and then had to search Pinterest for ages to find a photo as nothing I sketched made sense! I also might make tealight candle holders using just a few layers of stars? I’ve read that glue mixed with epsom salts looks like glitter but classier so I might try that for decoration.

I also have already made some really adorable book bags/gift bags from a lovely bunting patterned fabric.

Now, blogosphere, can I just say that I’m sharing these ideas from my Pinterest board (http://pinterest.com/readiesb/christmas-comes-after-the-olympics/) so none of them can technically be called original – and I’m not really claiming them as my own. But, I will be putting my own slant on them, and I can’t wait to show you at Christmas!

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p.s.  I’m listening to Friday Night is Music Night, on Radio 2 (yes I am so cool) and they are playing White Christmas, and just said it’s only 108 shopping days until Christmas. Morrisons already has Advent Calendars. So I’m not really that far ahead of the game, right?

Rosie and Dave’s Wedding

Rosie and Dave got married this Saturday and their reception was probably the best I’ve ever been to (and I’ve now been to a fair few weddings!) It was so laid back and relaxing, everyone had a great time and best of all, they had fun and got to share the day with loads of the people they love. (When I say loads – 22 tables with 9/10 people were table – wowzers!)

Here are a few pics from the day – none of them are mine, since my camera is still awol – I’ve copied them from Facebook.

My friend Eleanor (r) and I