Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Isaiah (whose name I always struggle to spell) lived about 750 years before Jesus and he foretold the Easter story.
‘ … he (Jesus) was pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities;’
‘ …he was led like a lamb to the slaughter …’
‘… the punishment that brought us peace was upon him …’
These so-called-Christian terrorists no more represent the message of the gospel than the manipulative televangelist in his mansion with his own private jet. God must weep over what is done in his name.
I’m really thankful that I started going to Thrive circuit training several years ago. I was wary at first but enjoyed it so now go twice a week. Enjoyed? Is that the right word? I enjoy the 3 minutes of relaxation we get at the end; I enjoy coming home and eating dinner; I put up with the pain of exercise.
I would have written this last night after Thrive but I couldn’t get up off the sofa.
We began a new circuit and it includes hill climbing, which means an exercise bike at top resistance, and standing to pedal for 1 minute. That probably sounds easy peasy to cyclists and anyone who hasn’t done it but by the time I got off my legs had turned to jelly. I had to run a couple of laps just after and I honestly thought my legs were going to collapse under me.
But I’m thankful I started going and that I continue to persevere. I don’t feel as if I’m getting any fitter but, at least, it must stop me getting unfitter, which I surely would be without that twice-weekly exercise. My life is so hectic at the moment I don’t even seem to walk George all that often.
And, of course, I’m thankful that I can still exercise, that my body hasn’t seized up altogether. (Although last night the evidence was to the contrary.)
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
It all started a long time ago. I don't remember exactly when but I was at a low point. I think it was coping with babies flying the nest along with the ever-increasing anxiety Ifrom which I was suffering. My friend, Janet, who was Linden's administrator then, asked me if I could help her with a few things. She meant on a weekly basis and that she'd pay me.
As the church grew and its activities increased so did the administrator's workload, and eventually the Trust took me over, so to speak, as Assistant Administrator and paid employee. I've carried on, with growing responsibilities ever since, until last year, when Janet retired and I became Administrator-in-chief (not really -in-chief). It's a part-time job, 10 hours a week, and it's just enough for me. Enough to keep me sane but not enough to drive me mad.
And really I owe it all to Janet. She saw the state I was in and 'created' a job for me, paying me out of her own money, and always being on my side. We've had ups and downs as boss and employee but our friendship has survived.
Like any job there are bits I like more than others. I enjoy the creativity of the movie notices, posters, magazines and such; I dislike insurance, invoices and, I suppose, most administrative jobs. Really it's a good job I was doing the job before I was taken on by the Trust: nobody in their right mind would pay to be an administrator. I wouldn't even get to the interview stage.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Archbishop Oscar Romero, an advocate for the poor and marginalized, was assassinated thirty years ago while giving Mass in El Salvador. He was an outspoken critic of the military government and no-one has ever been convicted in connection with his murder although a UN-sponsored commission concluded it was the work of a right-wing death squad. The current President of El Salvador yesterday issued an official apology.
"Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down."
Wednesday, March 24, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Monday, March 22, 2010
Sunday, March 21, 2010
This is James Hook just about to score a try. Excuse the blur: it's hard to keep a camera still when you're jumping up and down.
Wales won the game but really the best bit of the afternoon was probably the singing of Bread of Heaven.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
It was very full again in Zac's last night. We're regularly getting 30 people - in a room that's made for 29. And it was a little chaotic. Several were under the influence - one young man said he'd dropped acid (is that the right terminology?) before he'd come in and Jerry, after several weeks of being what is sober for him, was ... not quite so.
And Ruby, well, Ruby was not quite herself, and was very enthusiastic with her hugging. Nigel bore the brunt ... I mean, came in for particular attention, while Ric and Martin both left early to avoid it. (Yeah, yeah, they said they had excuses but we know the truth.)
But the fact that so many people come either regularly or occasionally, that, on the whole, they sit quietly, participate openly and honestly, and are polite, seems to suggest a great need, not just of the place, the evening, the coffee, but of something much more. We'd say it's God although they may not recognise that.
But when they find respect and acceptance in Zac's, it's the spirit of God inspiring it.
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
I'm very glad that someone once, at least 22 years ago, gave me the recipe for date flapjacks. It's a well-used recipe as you can see from the page in my notebook.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Sunday, March 14, 2010
I've had a lovely day. Breakfast in bed, church, lunch then a walk on the beach with Husband. Back home to some blogging before Younger Son cooked dinner for us: salmon and crab parcels followed by cannelloni stuffed with plaice and sun-dried tomatoes. His own creation and very yummy it all was too.
Still catching up with myself, for yesterday, I'll give thanks for friends and acquaintances. The photo shows Diane, at the piano, who hosted and played for our musical soiree last night, with Janet and Mike, our generous donors (they paid for the charity auction lot - music and supper for 8).
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
So I focused on something she could see: the sky. A few little clouds wandered into her line of vision so we played 'See what you can see in the clouds'. I got quite excited as I could see an elephant. GrandDaughter looked skeptical until I explained that it was all because of perspective that his head looked so much bigger than his body.
I think she found it easier when we saw real catkins and I explained about spring and baby birds (who go tweet) and baby lambs (who go baa). I was about to tell her about a young man's fancy but thought better of it.
It was a wonderfully precious moment and I am so thankful for it.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
It started off as 'pub in a church'. Sean and Lorraine, a local singer, used to run Sunday night gatherings in a Swansea pub, then a few years ago Exousia Trust, which was set up to support Sean in his ministry to bikers and the ragamuffins of society, was able to buy an old chapel, which now serves as the base. It's where we meet on Tuesday evenings for bible study (tribal gathering) and where coffee (and soup) bar happens on Thursday evenings for rough sleepers etc. A local charity working with the homeless also used the premises to provide breakfast each weekday morning.
Those are the regular events but lots of other things happen at Zac's Place too on an occasional basis like a health clinic, first aid classes for Big Issue sellers and music gigs.
But, although it serves a purpose, the building isn't Zac's as such. Zac's is so much more. It's a community of people, very different people, at different stages in their Christian life. Many view Zac's as their church; some have come from regular churches where they've been discouraged, cold-shouldered, told what to think or do or wear - or what not to. Or they've never been part of a church but are seeking something that they can't find anywhere else. Many are on the very edges of society.
It seems that everyone who comes to Zac's find the thing they are looking for, whatever that might be. Acceptance, understanding, tolerance, love. They won't find judgement or condemnation though, if they ask, they will hear truth.
Visitors have often said that there's just something that feels different and special about the place. It could be the atmosphere but I think it's the presence of God.
Today Daughter's friend, another young mum, came to visit and she was impressed with the tongue-sticking-out. She said, that according to the book she'd been reading, it was an acquired skill.
So today GrandDaughter - who loves me again - and I have been working on raspberry-blowing and thumb-sucking (but don't tell her dad!)
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
That's a photo I found on the internet: I'm in Devon and don't have access to my photos of the bridge. Not only am I grateful for the usefulness of the bridge, I appreciate it for its beauty. It's a truly lovely creation, with fabulous lines and colours. I am in awe of the design and engineering skills that went into its construction, not to mention the actual feat of building across fast-flowing tidal water.
And now I'm safely in Devon and GrandDaughter keeps crying at me! I am feeling very unlovely.
I'd just come over the bridge and the first sign I saw said Exeter 71 miles; Minni said I had enough fuel to do 68. Don't panic!
Next sign said Exeter 64 miles; Minni was saying I could do 70. Hey, I'm making petrol again. (Yes, Husband, I know: diesel!)
By the next sign we'd evened out and both sign and Minni said 49 miles.
We were two junctions off leaving the motorway and within the space of 1 minute Minni's 'number of miles you can do' gauge dropped from 21 to 13. And as I was approaching the last but one junction we were back up to 19.
Now I knew it wasn't 19 miles to the next junction, where I'd leave and go straight to Tesco's petrol station, but the way Minni's gauge had been going, should I cut my losses and get off early and try and find another garage?
Should I? Should I? Shoul ... oops, too late.
Well, we made it to Tesco's with a few miles to spare but I'm never leaving home without filling up first again!
Monday, March 08, 2010
Sunday, March 07, 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Friday, March 05, 2010
Thursday, March 04, 2010
In fact it did lead somewhere: to Flock Mill and Old Heazle's Farm, which in turn led to a quick rendition of Tom Pearce, Tom Pearce, lend me your grey mare, all along down along out along lea .... And Uncle Tom Cobley and all.
We didn't mind not getting anywhere as it was a beautiful sunny afternoon to wander the peaceful Devonshire country lanes. We saw little lambs, a fat pheasant strutting across a field and a hare.
'How do you know it's a hare?' HollyDog asked.
'Because it looks like one.'
'What's the difference between a hare and a rabbit?'
'I have no idea.'
HollyDog looked at me rather skeptically. 'That then puts your identification of the hoppity thing into doubt I believe.'
I shook my head, 'It's March!'
(I had to explain about March hares and I don't think she was convinced but as neither she nor GrandDaughter, who was asleep, saw it, I think I can say without fear of contradiction that it was a hare. So there.)
I'm writing this in Daughter's office. Their garden backs onto a churchyard and tonight is bell-ringing practice. I do love church bells.
And now I'm going downstairs to have a cup of tea and a cookie - yes, in spite of saying, 'If I never see another cookie again it will be too soon,' I made some for Daughter this afternoon.
I've had the same style one for years - the sort with a bit of string wrapped round the handle. The original one had its string renewed so many time before it finally gave up the ghost. My father-in-law, after seeing me use it one time when they were visiting, kindly bought me a new super-whizzo peeler ... but I couldn't get to grips with it.
I finally found another one the same as my first love - although without the bit of string.
I am reminded how much I love my peeler after struggling with Daughter's.
It's the simple things that make life simple.