Saturday, 21 March 2015

Unwelcome Visitor

Without invitation
you rudely invaded my life,
disrupting my routine,
derailing my plans.

Night did not bring peace and refreshment,
but a restless waking,
and irritation at the noises that normally do not disturb me.
I lay huddled beneath the duvet,
but was still shivering
so I added a layer
and hoped that soon I would start to feel warm.
At 4am I made a coffee,
and aimlessly wandered around the internet,
before retreating back to my bed
before the Dawn noticed my wakefulness.

This afternoon I slouched on the settee,
enjoying feeling the suns gentle warmth,
while my daughter followed Garfield's antics once more,
as she completed another jigsaw.

It's only a cold.
A trifling inconvenience
which delays me from my tasks.
Tomorrow will dawn,
maybe my eyes and nose will not run so freely
nor my head feel that it is no more that a reservoir of snot -
there are few polite ways of accurately describing
this irritating inconvenience.
All I can do is give it the cold shoulder
and hope that it gets the hint.

Friday, 20 March 2015

The tide of Magnolia

When life is busy, I do not have the time to sit and unravel my thoughts in a blog.
Correction, I do have the time, instead I fritter it away on meaningless games on Facebook, with the excuse that it is good for my brain to face these challenges.  However, as I usually lose, I am not sure that there is any credibility to my claim.  I am no longer convinced that I play the game, I think that the game plays me - analysing my strengths and exploiting my weaknesses, knowing that I have certain tactics that I will repeat, and ridiculing my optimism as once again I fail to notice that victory is impossible, and may even have been so before the first move.

In real life my husband is playing "search the paint tin lid", abandoned by me yesterday as the relentless magnolia tide washes around our home, subduing the multicoloured decor into obedient passivity, replacing the battered but still gleaming gloss, into trancelike satin...My husband has been allocated walls and ceilings, I have woodwork.

Today we shall play the shopping game - searching for doormats and light shades which enhance their environment and do not cause disharmony.  My natural inclination is for bright colour, clutter and flamboyance, but now I shall search for simplicity, texture and subtle shading and see beauty in a new way. My decluttering will continue, as I winnow my way through my possessions, allowing what is not required to move on to new places, but maintaining what is important.  These decisions are not made easily, or painlessly, but when each stage is complete, there is a sense of accomplishment.  The distinction between what I desire to keep and what I require is sometimes blurred.  However, time will not wait while I deliberate and with the spring sunshine comes a sense of unfamiliar urgency  - declutter, clean and transform is the mantra that echoes in my head.  There will be a time when I can relax, but we have not yet reached that season.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Mere Foolishness

Have you ever notice how quickly a day where everything is going so well,
can be instantly transformed by the sudden realisation 
that you have done something profoundly and simply stupid.  
I had one of those days today.  
My feelings of peace and contentment at small, 
even if insignificant achievements, 
were completely overshadowed by the sudden knowledge 
that I had done something foolish.  
A sin of omission no less.  
I had not intend to do anything wrong.  
However, a moments inattention and the error was made.

Fortunately there do not appear to be any repercussions to my aberration, 
for which I am profoundly grateful!  
I wish I was perfect, 
how I very wish I was!
But God did not make me that way.  
So I have to learn to manage my weaknesses, 
and each time I do something stupid I vow never to be so lax again.  
I check, and double check, and triple check,
and remember 
and everything is fine, 
until in a moment of weakness 
I do something silly again....
and so the cycle of casual carelessness continues.

I could name and shame my weakness, 
but in remaining undefined and anonymous
it has greater power, 
for it could fit all manner of sillinesses.  
Once identified it can become an object of scorn and excuse for superiority
"She did WHAT??? How could she have been so stupid"
"I always check. Why didn't she check?"
"Why didn't she do what I always do?"  
"Correct procedures, rigorously adhered to would have prevented this!"
"Do you know what could have happened?  That would have served her right!
"Yes, I bet she would never do that again!"

But devoid of identity, my foolishness remains elusive.  
You cannot insult it, 
for it may be the very thing YOU have done, 
and it may have had serious consequences.  
It is by not defining it, that it has the most value, 
and it hangs uneasily on your shoulder, 
nudging you to extra vigilance, 
and, most significantly of all, 
denying you the throne seated on the moral high ground.  

Maybe it was worth it after all....

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

When bland is not a brand

And nothing has happened in  the world today apart from Jeremy Clarkson appearing to have stepped out of line again - no wars, no injustice, no tragedies worthy of mention.  Just Jeremy Clarkson.

The not so fine details have not yet emerged regarding the alleged fracas, but the BBC has a huge problem. Jeremy Clarkson makes them money.  Can they really afford to sack him? But if action is not taken they will find themselves in a very difficult position.  However how can a 'last warning' ever be taken seriously, if it is not a last warning?

Meanwhile Jeremy Clarkson has generated huge support online, 500,000 people have signed a petition to have him reinstated!  What!!!?  Petitions about health/moral/injustices pail into insignificance...

I have watched Top Gear very occasionally - like once every 10 years.    Jeremy has made a career over sailing close to the edge, which is part of what made him interesting to watch.  He said the sort of outrageous things the joker in the class said, when you were at school.  The guy who could always come back with the perfect answer to the teacher.  He knew that bland is not a brand.  But once you become a brand, how easy is it to know where the image ends and the person begins?  If Top Gear was to stop if would not effect me.  What bothers me is the feeling that anyone is could be beyond justice. Fortunately the prime minister has stepped in and described him as 'a huge talent", which should be the kiss of death to his hopes of staying with Top Gear at the BBC, as Cameron is not renown for making wise judgements!

Can the BBC afford to keep, or lose, the joker in the pack? Has the strongest brand become the weakest link?

Monday, 9 March 2015

"Mum. does resurrected mean good as new?"

"Mum, does resurrected mean good as new?"

Resurrected - risen from the grave.
Death defeated,
conquered, but not cheated.
Battle worn,
bearing scars on side
and hands opened wide
to reach out to all who will respond.

As good as new?
No, even better!
The crown of scorn and thorn
is replaced with the crown of
high renown
of majesty and glory.

Death is beaten.
Jesus is risen,
walking in the garden
waiting for Mary
and for you and me

The dress code of grave clothes
no longer required
The stone is rolled away
and in that moment
man is reconciled to God.
With a cosmic shift
the rift
is healed
by the sacrifice
of the perfect one.

"Mum, does resurrected mean good as new?"
Yes and no.
No and yes.
But we must claim the prize
open our eyes
to this amazing

Sunday, 8 March 2015

What about the other 364?

In 2013 Marin Alsop became the first woman to conduct The Last Night of the Proms.  The final night traditionally has a party atmosphere,. However, Marin did not let the moments moment go unmarked, as she expressed her surprise that in 2013 we were still celebrating firsts for women, and to the delight of those watching, dedicated the evening to progress.

Today there have been lots of memes circulating on Facebook celebrating International Women's Day, and while it is good to celebrate achievements of women, I find it rather sad that we need to dedicate a day to it.  It leaves me wondering what we are celebrating on the other 364 days of the year?  If we were to be fair then we should be celebrating the achievements of women on 182.5 days of the year.  Does that imply that we couldn't celebrate any female achievements on the remaining days? Would the days alternate?  Would we accidentally omit to celebrate an achievement or anniversary, just because it fell on the wrong day? It would be a veritable minefield!

It is a sad reflection on our world, that there are countries where women are still seen as second class citizens, and that there are countries, who by their restrictive practices, chose to miss out on the potential talents of half their citizens.  I think of the schoolgirls who have gone to Syria, believing in a cause that will not believe in them - a cause that regards them merely as 'rewards' for those fighting a war.

Instead of celebrating International Women's Day I will chose to celebrate the achievements of people who are working to make the world a better place for all.  I celebrate those who :-
  • Care for and speak out for the more vulnerable members of society. 
  • Work hard to find cures for diseases.
  • Create items of beauty that stir hearts.
  • Are prepared to risk their lives to help others.
  • Quietly get on with living good lives and strengthening their communities.
I celebrate those who do these things, male or female.

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Relationship status - it’s complicated

Our relationship has reached an impasse
and right now I have to say, 
with a heart that is heavy,
that I don't know what the future holds.
The only way to describe the current quagmire of frustration and ineptitude 
is to say that "It's Complicated"
The sad part is that it shouldn’t be!
Our relationship has lasted many years, through highs and lows.  
Maybe I am being naive, 
Maybe I am I guilty of looking back on the past through rose-tinted spectacles, 
but, hey, given my name, 
who can blame me?

I thought there was a genuine level of commitment on both sides. 
I can't speak for you, but all that I can say 
is that I desire a relationship based on trust and mutual respect,
that is more than just payment
in exchange for services rendered, 
for put like that it is sounds like prostitution, 
and just the word itself shocks me 
with its harsh brutality and economic necessity.

I must be honest with you, 
you muck me around 
and I shall not just accept whatever treatment you give me.
Oh no, not me!
If you took me for a mug, you are in for a big surprise!
If you do not make a serious commitment to resolving our current difficulties
then I will not remain meekly shackled to your side
I shall be looking for a new relationship,
looking at what else is on offer…

So stop stringing me along,
making arrangements and then cancelling them, 
because of you own ineptitude!
And then having the utter gall to hint at wanting money…
Sort yourself out, BT,  
I am ''open' to your 'reach'
woo me with your seductive fibre optics
and get my broadband sorted!

But most of all, 
I am only a phone call away…

Monday, 2 March 2015

The Tortoise Hares Slowly

The day stretched ahead of me, a yawning chasm of failure, decorated tenuously with opportunities doomed to end in disaster.  Yes, it would be fair to say that matters domestic always bring out my pessimistic side...

I started resolutely as I meant to go on, and went back to bed...but I did not sleep.  Instead I lay cocooned and contemplated resistible opportunities...

With a desire for a simpler life, my husband and I have embarked on a regime of decluttering and decorating. Unfortunately our heads are more engaged with this project than our hearts, and each decision requires much painful pondering.  We know we have far more than we need, but letting go is far from simple, as each item triggers memories and emotions.

Small visitors were expected, so painting was out of the question - how we love our get outs!
Small visitors also precluded anything that was going to cause mess as a byproduct - at least for the first part of the day!
Small visitors should have entailed putting away the jigsaw, the open box of which I trod in later in the day, but somehow I glossed over that one...
Small visitors were lured away, by promises of animals, and so my excuse for delay was removed.  On the bright side the small visitors did encourage me to go through the toy boxes.  I box destined for charity, other lot designed for the bin.

Today was a stand off between all the tasks I need to do, and my natural procrastination.  Facebook was on the side of good, with a dearth of postings.

On the bright side, I did condense the photos down from two to one boxes, a small and embarrassingly insignificant step I know.  I also went through the hat and glove box and rejected a huge pile of odd gloves, which I foolishly left visible in the bin to be spotted by the KHT...
"What are all those gloves doing in the bin - couldn't you just keep them?"
"So are they going to the charity shop?"
"Then what are they doing in the bin!"

I engrossed myself in rubbing down paintwork, to avoid further interrogation.

I open the formerly almost empty under stairs cupboard.
"The fireguard can go to the tip"  I declare
"I was thinking of taking that down to the charity shop on Woodrow" responds my husband
"No-one on Woodrow has a fire" we respond in unison "The tip!"  Its destiny is decided.

The realisation that we have a visitor arriving on Friday sent me hurrying to the spare room..
"The floors clear isn't it?" declared my husband, naively...
"Yes, but he is going to want to get into the cupboard!
I cheered myself up by exchanging the animal print curtains for Paddington ones...which hadn't seen the light of day for about 30 years, but suddenly seem fashionable.

I opened the wardrobe and peered at the boxes of craft supplies.  Apparently you can have too much craft stuff. Perhaps if I condense it, it won't looks so bounteous...

Tomorrow is another day of decluttering decisions, but first my comfy cocoon is calling to me...

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Marching Into March

It was an optimistic sort of morning, bright and blustery, with a sense that spring really had begun.
I contemplated putting some towels in the wash, with a view to hanging them out upon our return from church.  Our weather is very changeable, and often promising mornings deteriorate by lunchtime, and dismal morning make way to sunny afternoons.

The first Sunday of the month is a time when we worship together and it was good to see lots of familiar faces and some known visitors.

We were given a pipe cleaner each before the service began.  Unsurprisingly I chose yellow.  During the service we were asked to shape it into something that was important to us.  I am not artistic, so I attempted to make a camera.... I love taking photographs of God's creation and using them creatively to share thoughts and ideas about God, scripture and faith.  I was certain that this was a good use of what God had given me...

We were then asked to take the very thing we had created, and destroy it and turn it into a cross.  There was a collective intake of breath at this point, as no-one wanted to sacrifice what they had created.  If we felt like that about a mangled pipe cleaner, how did God feel about allowing his one and only Son to suffer and die?

My cross, was a rather sad and mangled affair, and the blurry photograph does not add to its glory, but if we try and keep things for ourselves, then they cannot be used for God's glory. Similarly, if we stick to our plans, then we are restricting God's plans. When we look at the bigger picture, then our desires and plans suddenly look quite insignificant.

By the time we left church the skies were grey, hinting at the imminent rain.  Sure enough it arrived before we even reached home. Heavy rain and hail persisted most of the afternoon, so no washing got hung out to dry on the cold spring breeze. All the best laid plans...

The sun put in a late appearance, we watched from the comfort of our lounge as the sunshine fought a losing battle with the advancing cloud.
"Look how fast those clouds are moving" I said to my daughter, 'I think a storm is approaching."
"Let the show begin!" she replied.
Sure enough the rain was soon battering on the window, again.

As the day draws to a close I reflect on all that has happened - the places I have visited and the people I have met.
I thank God for my church fellowship, and for the support and dedication of the members.
I ask God for clarity and wisdom in dealing with difficult situations, and for the discernment to know when to hand situations over to him and not  to dive in, for belly flops are rarely evidence of grace!