Friday, 23 January 2009

Happy Birthday Bon-Papa!!

This is a little later than I would have liked - but had I posted a birthday entry in time for the actual day (15th), those photos would never have featured here... And that would be a shame. See: I flew into Paris on the very day of my daddy's birthday as a surprise (um, it was a fairly significant one... enough said!). I think the desired effect was achieved, and he was utterly surprised, ... and also delighted!!

We had a wonderful family get-together for the occasion, of which you can see a few prize photos here. My 3 handsome, kind, lovely brothers were all there as well as one sister-in-law plus 'bump', and one sister-in-law-to-be...

We all squeezed round a fairly small table in my parents' sitting room in their new flat in Chartres... and had an incredibly delicious meal, some exeedingly good wines, and lots of laughs!

Yes, there is indeed something to be said for family. Mr Wibbz was sadly not able to be there, as someone had to look after the children while mummy was away... but this 'sacrifice' in itself was one of Mark's most precious gifts to my dad (and to me, incidentally), and was so gracefully given - and gratefully received; so his absence in a way was part of the celebration, and he was very much 'there' with us, very much appreciated and loved, very much one of the family...

So - happy birthday, my dear lovely daddy!!! It was a joy to see you so joyful, so relaxed, so delighted, ...and so young :)

God is good.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Another award!

Wow... My lovely new blogging friend, Katrina, passed on this award to me... I feel really humbled, thank you!!

"Premio Dardos", it would seem, means 'prize darts' in Italian. This award acknowledges the values that EVERY blogger displays in their effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values with each message they write.

And so now, it's my pleasure to, in turn, pass this on to a few more people:
(Elise, Andrea, Tonia, I wouldn't be surprised if you told me you'd already received this award... Still, you deserve to receive it one more time!!)

Salt for the Spirit
It's my life
Just RK
Moment by Moment
A Path Made Straight
Study in Brown
The Flourishing Mother

The rules associated with this award are as follows:

1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his/her blog link.

2. Pass the award to 15 other blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen as recipients. (although I'm sorry - it's not!)

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Full of Earth, Stained with Dirt - but 'Wholly Yours'

I listened to this breathtaking song again today, after not having heard it for a few months... and the beauty, power and truth of the lyrics really hit me, echoing everything that my heart has been feeling over the last week; so wisely putting into words this tension, this gap between the now and the not yet, the holy and the unholy, and the grace that bridges both: Jesus, becoming dirt, sin, human, and dying to clean my stains, and wash my sin away.

"I am full of earth. You are heaven's worth. I am stained with dirt, prone to depravity. You are everything that is bright and clean, the antonym of me. You are divinity. But a certain sign of grace is this: from the broken earth flowers come up pushing through the dirt. (...) I want to be holy like You are. (...) The truest sign of grace is this: from wounded hands redemption fell down, liberating men. (...) And so this might could be the most impossible thing: your grandness in me, making me clean.(...) I am wholly yours..."

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Remembering Claire (15.07.76 - 09.01.01)

My baby sister...
A very cute, bubbly little butter-ball, with a head full of goldilocks (they didn't stay blonde, incidentally, as you can see in subsequent pictures) - and a very headstrong child; this was a distinctive feature throughout her life, as she oozed character, assertiveness, and confidence...

She was an absolute hoot, and in true French fashion, loved her food and wine...! (photo taken one very hot week end in June '97, in Strasbourg. We had a blast together that week end, as we cycled round this beautiful university city, where she was studying theology at the time.)

...Taken late December '00...
The baby is Sam - nearly 3 months old.She was crazy about him! And would have made an amazing godmother for him. We were about to ask her - and then she left us!

I miss her every day.
It'll be 8 years tomorrow - and the pain of her loss is still overwhelming at times. Why God took her, only He fully knows...
But it is enough to know that it was part of His plan. Even though it hurts unbearably.
His ways are not our ways.
Thank you Lord for 24 years of Claire, it was blessed beyond words to have her in my life

Wednesday, 7 January 2009

Healthy Choices, Godly Decisions

I don't really know how to write this post, so I guess I'll ramble on and see where it takes me... Please forgive my possible (probable) lack of coherence!

I've had a lot to think about and to mull over these last few days. Decisions to make that could potentially affect the rest of my life as I know it...
Over the top??
As ever, I seem to find myself in the eye of the storm! And I could say I've been rather unsettled, confused, and not slept much. However, I think a decision has been made. And while it doesn't feel great, I know it is the right one. The following thoughts are what I think were God's loving, gracious whispers as I wrestled with my thoughts, gently nudging me in the right direction. For His glory.

There are many decisions one has to make over a lifetime. Big, important decisions such as deciding to get married, deciding on a career path, choosing a house to buy, the name of a child, where to invest one's money, ...
But other decisions too, on matters of the heart. Choices of attitudes, of allegiance, of morals, and so on... Those, in fact, are just as important.

But what it boils down to is this: I am a free human being, with free will; and I have 2 basic choices for any decision that I have to make...

The choices are: a) do my own thing, at my own risk, regardless of what God thinks (and there are many hints of what God thinks in the Bible). Do what feels good, what makes me 'happy', fulfilled; choose what excites me, what 'tickles my fancy', and what the world would tell me is the most logical, 'sensible' choice. Choose the easy, nice, convenient way. And bear the consequences not just for myself but quite possibly see others' lives around me altered because of my decision.

Or b) choose the way of sacrifice, of pain (sometimes), of what would appear to the world as foolish; the narrow path, the path that might hurt, but is holy, and right in God's sight. The path of purity, of love, of grace, of faithfulness...
Whatever the cost to me.
Because that is what pleases God. And the beautiful thing about choosing what I know will please God, is that He knows what is best for me, and my loved ones. So much better than I do. And it pleases Him to give me what is best for me, even if it doesn't feel like the best thing at the time.
What do I know?!?!

God has plans for each of us. He has amazing plans for me and my family. But the fulfilment of His plans in my life depend largely on whether I choose to walk the narrow way, or do my own thing. And I want to make sure that I continue to be amazed and surprised by Him, instead of taking matters into my own hands, and wreaking havoc with His plans! Whatever they may be.

An important thing to add to all this however, is that God makes generous allowances for our mistakes, and is in the habit of continually and patiently redeeming situations that seem hopeless.
His grace covers me.
And my loved ones.
And you.

Savouring Winter Walks Alone

Thursday, 1 January 2009

2009 - Nothing but Christ

How are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions?
You remember that list you made with optimistic enthusiasm but unrealistic expectations.

I suspect Paul only had one resolution on his list: “This year I resolve to know nothing but Christ and him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2)

Paul’s message is radically simple: Salvation is in Christ alone. What does this mean?

It’s not Christ plus your good behavior.

It’s not Christ plus the number of Bible verses you memorize.

It’s not Christ plus your tithe or the church you attend.

It’s not Christ plus wisdom from the latest Christian seminar.

It’s simply Christ plus nothing. Christ and Christ alone.
(© 2009 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.)