Friday, 17 December 2010


Against all odds, it seems even our little part of Britain has succumbed to snow, in spite of the micro-climate that usually makes Torquay a very mild place to live…

Now I'll happily confess that I'm really not the world's greatest fan of British snow.

But honestly. CAN YOU BLAME ME?!?! I mean, really?!? The littlest hint of a snowflake and you'd forgive anyone for thinking the world had suddenly ended… Why is this country SO VERY ill-equipped to deal with such "extreme weather conditions"…?!?!

A slight snowfall stops life in its tracks; here are a some examples:
  • Schools close. The entire local radio network is taken over by bulletins, updated every 10 minutes, listing which schools are closed and which ones aren't
  • The traffic and all public transport come to a complete standstill. The disruption is hopeless; people are late for school, work and injuries and accidents abound so that emergency services become saturated
  • and due to grit shortages, the entire country has been known to go into a state of emergency… 
This behaviour confounds me. To me, it is highly irritating yet also quite hilarious ridiculous: while at the sight of the white stuff falling from the sky, children (rightly) squeal with excitement  - rushing out (mine in the most inappropriate attire!) to make snow angels, snow men and have snowball fights, …the rest of the British public behave like pathetic, lost, helpless little pups.

Embarrassing, I tell ya.

That said……. It sure is pretty :)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Suffering - Underlined Notes #1

I've found a little gem of a book: "Why Us?" by Warren Wiersbe.

Even in the opening pages I'm blown away by the simple, straightforward wisdom it contains…

So. Underlined notes #1 it is. Be blessed :)

• Do I have the kind of faith that works in the battlefield of life?

• In every area of life there must always be an element of faith; what you believe determines how you behave.

• "We cannot put off living until we are ready... Life is fired at us point blank."

• Suffering can make us selfish or sacrificing

• "When you find yourself overpowered as it were by melancholy, the best way is to go out and do something kind to somebody or other"

• Human history sparkles with the testimonies of people who could have been victims but who decided to be victors.

• Suffering will either be your master or your servant.

• A crisis doesn't make a person; it reveals what a person is made of.

• It is not enough for your mind to be enlightened, or your heart to be enriched; your will must be enabled in the service of others

• Suffering is not a topic for speculation; it is an opportunity for compassion and involvement.

• The mind grows by taking in, but the heart grows by giving out.

More to come…!

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Lip Service Nativity

ADVANCED WARNING: I think I've turned into the Grinch! Again.

(I know, this happens E.V.E.R.Y C.H.R.I.S.T.M.A.S…)

I'm sorry. Nativity plays are cute and that, but they are soooo tedious. So dull...

...Or is that just me…??

Having just come out of Ben's second Nativity play of his entire life, I am fuming. Seething. Frustrated.

What a farce! What a shame...

It wouldn't have been be so bad if I could've seen Ben and he was actually doing something!

Instead I will just remember this year's play as the one where my son didn't do anything except sit on the floor in his PJs , with a tea towel round his head, among another 130 kids, being the 'singing crowd'. He and many of his classmates found it pretty boring as it seemed there were only about 6 children there with main (read: i.n.t.e.r.e.s.t.i.n.g - or FUN) parts.

The "singing crowd" weren't even prompted to STAND to sing their songs for crying out loud!!

How unfair. How frankly stupid...

The little glimpses I managed to catch of Ben, from my cramped, tiny, child-sized seat 4 rows from the back, only served to reinforce the feelings I already had as I had walked into the school hall earlier… His little face was almost exactly what you would draw as a typical caricature of a tired, bored, SAD face. His eyes, each time they caught mine, were pleading with me to take him home.

I would really want to be able to look back one day and think of my children's school Nativity plays as LOVELY and MEANINGFUL but I don't think that's about to happen. To me they're just paying lip service to an event so amazing you can hardly put into words -  they just make me angry. And Incredibly Frustrated. (Did I say I was frustrated!?)

Every so often I come across a deeply meaningful nativity play, like the one Ben was involved in last year in Reception… Or the ones my Thomas takes part in every year, at his "special school"… Or the ones produced by Out of the Ark, who are a Christian-based primary-school-production company. If done well and your kids are properly involved, then sure they can be great.

But mostly, the experience I have had of them over the past 10 years have brought out irritation and cynicism in me and made my skin crawl.
And yes, for certain things I am a self-confessed, unapologetic Grinch.

Just sayin'...

Monday, 6 December 2010


I am getting itchy… Restless… Mind overflowing with creative thoughts
I really need to write. If only I had something SPECIFIC - or at least even remotely clever - to write about... But no; no, I don't have an agenda here. I don't even have that gift, that charming, witty way with words which makes a reader come back for more...

Still - write I must. For me writing is like the need to bake (and eat!) cakes: not essential, but nonetheless necessary; an intrinsic, messy, chaotic and overflowing part of my personality.

Which is why I love blogging. Of all kinds. Macro and micro. See: it gives me a platform for doing what I do best: wearing my heart on my sleeve…….

Well. I have been posting on this blog for almost 4 years now


Some years have been more prolific than others, but this last year, in particular, has been pretty lean - for several reasons, mostly of the emotional sort.

So now I very much want to turn a new leaf and start blogging afresh, possibly probably even on a new blog. And write with more purpose; and conviction; and coherence…. Ah heck who am I kidding!? Coherence is taking it a step too far!!!


Watch this space

…That's all I'll say.

For now.
Cos there's always tomorrow :)

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Frustrating Thing About Christmas

It hits me every year.
What is going on??
This should be a season of rejoicing, fun, light, peace and goodwill.
Of anticipation, hope, longing.
Of waiting.

...Shouldn't it?!

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival."
The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent.
Thus, Advent is far more than simply marking a 2,000 year old event in history.

It is celebrating a truth about God, the revelation of God in Christ whereby all of creation might be reconciled to God.
Advent is marked by a spirit of expectation, of anticipation, of preparation, of longing.
There is a yearning, a hope for deliverance by a God who has heard the cries of oppressed slaves and brought deliverance!

Instead I find I am discouraged, grumpy, gloomy even, disorganised, and stressed; I feel I have one-million-and-one things to do, and that each day that goes by ends in frustration and a sense of emptiness and failure... And so the 'Twenty-Fifth' approaches with a sense of foreboding, dread, and of shallow, pointless striving.

Should Advent, the lead-up to Christmas, really be this way?
I know for a fact, having spoken to many friends and acquaintances about this, that this is such a common phenomenon: everyone is rushing around, feeling burdened and under pressure. And everyone is spending way too much money on stuff that will either end up on rubbish dumps or literally down the drains!!

I guess this frustration is maybe all part of the tension between the 'now' and the 'not yet', part of the calling that I, as a Christian, signed up to, of 'being in the world but not of the world'.

But I never seem to get the balance quite right. And this leaves me feeling exhausted, and frustrated. I want to be able to truthfully say that I love Christmas, and the whole lead-up to it. A lot of people get so excited about Christmas. And other people (or maybe they are the same people...?) plan for Christmas months in advance: they start buying their presents, cards and stamps in the January sales (which incidentally start on Boxing day, December 26th...!!), while shops and restaurants start advertising Christmas products and services the minute the summer holidays have ended!

To me this feels over-the-top. But then I go to the other extreme. Quite unintentionally, of course...! So that the first of December always catches me by surprise. And I panic. Then I tell myself off for panicking…

(argh I never managed to finish this!! …to be continued… next Christmas no doubt...)

Sunday, 25 July 2010

Flag Waving

Although the picture is slightly blurry, I think it is beautiful and lovely and says everything about how we are to come to the King of Love...:
in simplicity and purity,
with an open and sincere heart,
with abandon and a complete lack of self-consciousness...

And...with the desire and expectation that He will be blessed by what little I have to bring to Him.

Saturday, 17 July 2010


Now that we have moved I am getting to know all sorts of new fun activities to do in the area...

Devon really is a treasure trove of exciting adventures to have and amazing, beautiful places to discover!

This is what we are up to today:

...We live very near a really wonderful wildlife park called Paignton Zoo - you may well have heard of it, it is well-known worldwide!
Now seeing as pretty much all my friends were raving about how great it was, and how I absolutely must get a family annual membership as the value for money was incredible, ...guess what?!

...I got a family annual membership!!

And I am in fact extremely delighted that I did as it is a great place for the kids to let off some steam for a couple of hours. There are lots of different areas for them to play and run around... well as an enormously varied array of colourful, well looked-after exotic animals - meaning the boys will never tire of visiting...

It is mostly perfect for their needs - I would even consider popping there on my own for a while as it is a truly lovely, green and indeed peaceful environment - as long as you remain outdoors!!!

Which leads me onto this.

The only thing I find frustrating here is that they invariably ABSOLUTELY MUST spend at least one hour in the indoor soft play area... And being the person i am, those types of places make me anxious and irritable and make me want to curl up into a tight little ear-plug wearing ball. To me they are unbearably noisy, and stressful places. Loud, excitable children running around like lunatics, loud cannons that you can use to shoot plastic balls at other children, screaming toddlers and fussy babies....aaaargh, it is enough to make me come out in a rash!!!

The frustrating thing is that the kids love it and it is exceedingly good for them, meaning I have no choice but to sit there, patiently waiting for one of them to come and collapse on my lap exhausted and thirsty.
I guess it is one of those sufferings I have to endure for their good. There are many others, and they just help remind me that it's not about me, and that parenting is a painful road of a self-sacrifice.

It could be worse.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Spencer Bear

It's nearing the end of Ben's first year at school.
I cannot quite believe it - and what an eventful year it's been...
Well, all sorts of things have been happening these last few weeks, to celebrate summer time, and the end of term.
Cos in Britain we like summer; British summers are what we do best.

Sort of.


This Friday my Benji got to bring Spencer Bear home  for a whole week end - and boy was Ben overjoyed!! He was SO proud, it almost made him an inch taller...!

Thankfully the only mishap was, that 5 minutes into the walk home from school on the Friday afternoon, poor old Spencer Bear lost one of his sandals  :(  
But the rest of the week-end was a great success, and Spencer Bear was made a HUGE fuss of - well, on the Saturday at least. Ben forgot all about Spencer Bear on Sunday morning so Spencer Bear got a lie-in while we all went to church. Alright for some! Humph.

Spencer Bear had a fun day on Saturday though:
he had a great time with the playdough

He climbed trees, fed the ducks and had a go on a roundabout

And at the end of the day he had a bedtime story

No wonder he needed a lie-in on Sunday!!!

Ben has been missing Spencer Bear today...
What am I supposed to do about THAT!?!???

Clever bits and pieces

I have a new "app" on my phone which lets you create some amazing images by turning any photograph in my gallery black and white; I then select a particularly striking element of the picture and paint the colour back into it to make it stand out.
The results are wonderful, especially if the element chosen is a bold, single colour

...Good, isn't it!?

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Maybe I should start posting from my phone again as I seem to get distracted by facebook and other silly things on the computer.
And that's just not fair on my blog and anyone who might be wanting to catch up with our news or read whatever interesting rubbish I may have to share...
So here I am, using blogpress again.
It won't last!
But we'll give it a try.

I am in bed on a Saturday morning slowly sipping a cup of tea while my boys play in the sandpit; the *new* sandpit in the *new* deck outside our *new* home in Devon...

It's been a very warm summer so far, yesterday being the warmest day of the year so far - apparently - and today the sky is overcast, bringing some much needed relief from the heat...

I am grateful.
For my Lord, my life, my husband, my boys, and my Bible, which is much neglected these days ... As my cuppa tea is getting lukewarm by the minute I am now signing off as other things await.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Out with the old, in with the new!

I don't think I actually ever posted pictures of our new home on this blog of mine...
I didn't, did I...!!
Forgive me.
My bad.
I guess I've been so caught up in the here and now, trying to embrace our new life, making friends, getting the kids settled, and overseeing some essential renovation work in the house, that I completely forgot to actually show proof that we do indeed live somewhere new...!!

So without further ado, (...are you really sure you haven't seen my new house before...?? Honest? If I'm wrong would someone please correct me by linking to a previous post about our new house in the comments. Thanks).... *drum roll* here it is:

(Pictures all taken back in August 2009... Before we moved in)

Good. Glad I got this out of the way!
Now shall I get onto what I was really wanting to blog about...??

The kitchen.
And whole living area.
We were always going to update it all, and the kitchen desperately needed ripping out and replacing.
The work started in January, and what will now follow is a picture account of the transformation.

sliding door leading from enormous living room/ diner into tiny poky, very dated-looking kitchen

see? It's not what you would call high-tech... I mean - it barely belongs in the 20th century really...

The gas cooker didn't even work... I had been using the oven which thankfully still worked, and a microwave

so out it all came!! Oh happy day...

Sliding door and stud wall came down too, leaving it all beautifully open-plan

New solid-oak floor nailed into place throughout the entire room...

kids even gave the friendly builder a helping hand

Then kitchen units started going up, gradually; sloooowly...

Until, finally, the ugly duckling was no more!!

I am actually humbled by this stunning outcome...
It has exceeded my expectations, and is more beautiful than I could've ever dreamed!
So, maybe the moral of this little tale, is that good things exceedingly good things, come to those who wait...?