Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A Simple Woman's Day Book

I'm writing this as I was browsing blogs
and signed up for something, having miss-understood what I was doing!
So here's my "Day Book" for today!

It's been cold, grey and foggy here in Coventry.

My day started with going to the Wednesday communion service
which my hubby especially loves.
It's quiet, and often deep;
perhaps because it is quiet, and somehow intimate
in a way that the bigger Sunday services aren't.

Afterwards some twenty or so of us sit around a table
sharing chat and hot mugs of tea.
The tea warms us after the chill of the church,
which the heating does little to break.
We are mostly all retired folks, but recently some young mums
have joined us as there is a Mums and Toddlers Group
in the church right after the service.
So the sharing widens.

Tonight hubby is out bowling so I have been able enjoy some more quiet.

Without the television which hubby loves I have savoured
the silence,
which has been broken only by the sounds of the young family next door.
Through the walls I can hear the father
whooping and yelling like a six year old
as he joins in the children's games.

I smile as I think what a contrast there is
between the "outside" face of next door's dad, and his "indoor" one.

Outside he appears to be somewhat taciturn and withdrawn.
Quiet and a bit shy perhaps.
With the family he is uninhibited and loud.
I know because through the wall I can hear the
"monster" he's become for their games.

I wonder if he is aware of all the
happy memories
he is building for the three little girls who are lucky enough
to have him as their Dad.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Praying the Ordinary Things

I find something so timeless and good about standing in my garden,
just pegging out the washing.

Lifting the newly clean,
and fresh-smelling cloth out of t
he basket,
and more often than not seeing the air stirring things to life.A breezy day is best, as the sheets and shirts belly out
like great galleons setting sail
for goodness knows where.

Today the laundry is not cracking whip-
like in the wind,
or dancing loose from the pegs in a bid for free flight.

The air is still
after the early thick frost,
and the bird bath still sits frozen at it's centre
despite being touched by the sharp, bright, sunlight.

Everywhere is wrapped in a deep quiet.

The children of the neighbourhood are all at school so
only the occasional burst of bird song,
and the constant crooning of the wood pigeons seeps into the quiet.

Listening, I am transported back to another
n of my childhood.
While I remain busy with the chore at hand,
I am somewhere else;
and for that fraction of time
I can almost smell the
great yew tree
that shadowed one corner of the garden,
hosting the wood pigeons all those years ago.

I remember the washing I've seen
set out to dry over bushes and shrubs in lands where
the sun could be relied upon,
and the season of the winds is occasional and anicipated.

I remember those lands which are torn apart
by so many disasters of war, and poverty,
and by the very flaws of the planet we all share.

Is it any wonder that the quiet of my garden,
and the ordinariness of things made new again,
lifts my heart in thanksgiving for what I have, and have known,
as well as in a silent cry that others may know this same ordinary joy.
Pen and ink sketch I did some long time ago

I return to my warm kitchen, leaving my prayer flags fluttering
for Libya,
for Japan,
and for all who suffer today.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Home and Painting Again

It's been a while since we went on our bowls break holiday and I promised to report back,
and in all honesty it really was

After all my doubts it turned out that we were in really pleasant company,
and had a good time.
I even got introduced to a book club by one of the party,
and have already zipped through an enjoyable read, and duly joined in
discussion about it with the "club".

Now I'm left with the question,
was this bowls trip all that different from all the others I've been on, or
was the difference that
I'd made the attempt to adjust my outlook to a more positive,
and grateful one?

Probably a bit of both, but which ever it was I'm truly grateful
as the break was just what we both needed.

I don't know if you can see it,
but the sea is just beyond the trees seen from our bedroom window in the photo above.

On our last afternoon of bright sun and cleaving cold,
the sea churned and creamed against the shingle as we walked beside it.
Then we took refuge from the cold with a good British pot of tea,
in a light-flooded room where we could continue to watch the tide
from the Inn on the Beach.

Since we've been back I've been painting an abstract
it draws on my fascination with the tangles of branches I love,
and colour and light.

Not sure it's fully resolved yet, but probably better to leave it and move on to something new.

Since we got back life has also thrown a few things at us to test my
determination to stay with the
"Gratitude Attitude"
and I've fallen down on it a few times too,
but all in all it I'm maintaining my sights on
the good, and lovely, and giving thanks for them.

There is a lovely blog which deals in depth with living fully in the dimension of gratitude,
and you can access it by clicking on

Looking around the world at present there is so much suffering and desperation.
It would be ungrateful indeed not to see how blessed I am,
and to celebrate the fact.

Surely the best foundation for our prayers is a
grateful heart,
even while we still feel a keen anguish for those in need.

With the world shrinking in on us as the media brings the happening news
into our living rooms, and onto the screens of our mobile phones,
we all suffer from an overload of angst.

I don't know about where you are but here,
whether in the queue at the supermarket, or on the bus,
conversation with perfect strangers soon turns to the state of the country,
the state of the world.
Always with a sense of how wrong things have gone, and all too often with
a sense of impotence.
A sense of "What is to be done!?"

While this is dispiriting,
(and I use the word advisedly because our hearts and spirits are depleted
if we continually look, and see, in near despair),
perhaps it also our greatest pointer that within the human heart
there is always a longing for all that is better, best, and good.
And not just for ourselves either.

It is that impulse that has stirred the astonishing movement in the Middle East,
where ordinary people have laid their lives on the line for the hope of a better future,
without any longer caring whether they themselves will partake in that future.

Hubby is a constant source of inspiration,
(I have to be honest and say and irritation too some times!)
as he will have none of a defeatist or downbeat attitude.
On the other hand he isn't Panglossian either,
but his belief that there is always an alternative to the bad and the ugly,
and his willingness to work towards that is a constant challenge.
You can see why he irritates me can't you?
Still I thank God for him ( on my good days),
and wish I, and perhaps all of us were a bit more like him,
because as you know I have to work on it!

God Bless

"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God". Phil 4:6