oh so long ago..

Today’s daily prompt: Dig through your couch cushions, your purse, or the floor of your car and look at the year printed on the first coin you find. What were you doing that year?  I found a pound coin dated the year 2000. Seems as though it was another lifetime altogether. For one thing, I was still in high school, in the fifth year, with another year of school left. If I recall correctly, that was the year we had to begin to seriously consider which universities we might realistically apply to. It was also the year of much hard work and tests and exams. The first year of something baffling called ‘Higher still’. really don’t know what else happened that year. I think it was the year I had my first boyfriend. I shan’t elaborate, tho he was lovely. Thirteen years ago I had no idea of the struggles to come. I an so glad I didn’t know. This should be proof enough that we are best not ask God what is to come even if it seems like a good idea at the time, and even if we want to know!

My lovely Godly Gran!

I’ve not had the energy to post in the previous few days, or else other things have taken priority. I have thought about this particular post, and I think I’m ready to write it out of my head. I love this daily prompt from the 17th asking about mentors. I am both fortunate and privileged to have had a few wise and Godly people in my life, including but not limited to my Mum, My friend who is also key-holder and tablet-overseer, among other things, and a number of friends. My Gran though has been there for me through thick and thin, as have my other grandparents, and my parents, and for that I really am Blessed with a capital ‘B’. Since my Grandfather went to be with Jesus when I was about 15, I’ve gradually got to know my Gran in a different way. One step removed from my parents, but just as reassuring  and a wonderful listener, we have had many conversations over the years, including many debates, and times when we ‘put the world to rights’.

If I have done anything which my Gran has felt is out-of-order, she will tell me straight. She has also mopped up many tears, and along with others, prayed for me every single day. I will never truly know the results of all those prayers this side of Heaven. However, times such as when I have a big fall or whatever, I have known God’s peace, and it’s never been as bad as it might have been. The same goes for day-to-day health. By rights I should have more hospital admissions and infections than I do, given my medication and so on, but I am convinced all those prayers have kept me well.

There have also been times when, choked with emotion or a breaking heart, my Gran has prayed with me over the phone, or just after the phone call has ended. Times when I have been unable to pray for myself. She has also when need by reminded me of what has gone in the past, things I’ve been though or come through, things God has brought me through or times he has provided.

The one lesson that sticks in my head, above all is that Gran has taught me to be thankful. Even in the darkest of days, to find three things to be thankful for. It is something I am still learning, but I do so know the importance of it now. I am glad for her forbearance with me in the times I have been out-of-order and the times she has spoken her mind in love. I am thankful for these times also. I guess it’s all these things put together combined with wise, Godly wisdom which makes her a kind of mentor really. Mostly, she’s Gran, and I love her to bits! I am truly thankful for her, and all that she’s taught me and all the fun times we’ve had too. Hopefully there will be many more times to come.

I’ve chosen to schedule this post on a Sunday as this is when I often specially think of her, singing praise in Church to her Lord and Saviour Jesus, whom she loves very much. Unlike me, Gran has a wonderful singing voice 🙂 I’m hoping I can visit her at some point this summer, as a visit is long overdue. Those of you who read this blog who are Christians, please can you say a prayer of Blessing for her after you’ve read this?! Thank you!

Great Songs no fillers!

Today’s daily prompt: Write about what you did last weekend as though you’re a music critic reviewing a new album.
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This was one of those that only come along once in a while. So good you replay it over and over, every detail, every nuance. The First have was The One with The Wedding. Great music for a party, the sort of music everyone loves and can join in with. That everyone loves, with few exceptions. So good you want to dance. It makes your body move and your spirit sore, and wish you could write music like that. But hey, let’s leave it to the experts, the ones who meet The One, and can show it as such, appreciate it and grow it, and protect it, and mature it for years. This is their gift, just as others have the gift of making music. Some of the songs on this album are traditional, but the music does not suffer, rather it is all the richer for it. This album could be the sound track to the kind of party that goes long on long into the night, but it is so good nobody cares.

Part two. Another day, a plan for another party

The second half of the album sparkled, full of excitement and promise. The final couple of tracks sang of a future full of love, fun and good times. They are as much a part of a good party as great food and good wine. This is one that will stick in the memory for a long time to come, a success that will not be easily repeated.

From Nothing to Something

I am dreaming big dreams…

Daily Prompt: A Plot of Earth

.You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Wednesday’s daily prompt is a ‘no-brainer’ for me.  I immediately knew what I would do. My church has looked for land for sometime. Not just to do the obvious; build a church but also a new kind of community centre where people can go to spend time there, or groups can meet. There’s not anything else like this in the area. There is not much to do otherwise. There is a small café run by a local church. A Godsend. There will be the new health and well-being centre too which is partly funded by the supposedly broke local council. Perhaps this will fulfill some of the need, who knows. Even so it can’t meet the dire spiritual need.

People need to know they are loved

There a lot of elderly people round where I live, because everything you might immediately need is in a compact area, so there’s no need to walk far. A small supermarket, two doctors surgeries, good local bus links. You have to go anywhere, really to be able to do something. There is a small outreach thing for older people who I considered volunteering for, but I don’t think that is enough. In winter, lots of people are in even more need. In the winter of 2010, lots of people had no way of getting basic food shopping and heating, as many seem to have pre-paid meters. I’d love it if we were able to provide extra groups for elderly people, just somewhere for people to go, have a cup of tea and some company, maybe get help or advice. No agendas other than being there for people. It would let me set up a group for disabled people too, as there is no accessible venue which is not in a church, the local community school being adverse to ‘religious people. I don’t know what else we’d want to set up.

We are fortunate, that in general we have somewhere to meet on a Sunday. It’s award when that goes wrong, and I know church as a whole would love to be able to do more. At the same time Church is full of busy people and I am not sure we would have time for all this. We know though that there are many people in need on the estate that just need to know the Saviour’s love and acceptance  more than meeting basic needs like providing food, or debt advice or a listening ear. In the absence of a land-fairy, I will keep dreaming of a transformed place of life, hopefully in this life, and not just in the next, as we are called to live sacrificial lives. One day…

Scotland, the farm, and the common denominator

I find the prompt for this post post is interesting, to write the first word that comes into my head, when I see the words home, soil, and rain. It suprised me very much that when I thought of home, it was Scotland that came to mind, not where I now live. It’s been a long time since I was up in Scotland… in fact, I am struggling to think when I was last there. I think it was perhaps a little over a year ago. I was supposed to be there in a few weeks, but I will have to delay it for a few weeks at least.

It is no surprise to me that I thought of the farm as soon as I saw the word ‘soil’ as I used ti volunteer for the horticulture project, and spent many hours pushing seeds into soil or cleaning old pots for reuse. I miss the volunteering, but not the soil. Conversely, I wish I had more of a garden than the one strip of soil outside my window.

‘Rain’ or rather the frequency and volume of rain is one of the few things my birthplace and current home have in common. Years ago when I moved to my current city, rain used to much reduce my homesickness. Indeed, I would be quite pleased if the sky were to pour now, and clear away the snow!

Dancing Queen

At first, I had some difficulty thinking of a particular skill for today’s daily prompt. Then it hit me. I have always always I want to be able to dance. I remember school discos in embarrassment. Scottish country dancing practice in physical education was much worse as I was forced 2 dance with my 121 helpers when the whole thing was difficult enough. This was a reminder of just how uncoordinated I was. On top of that none of the boys would dance with me.
This didn’t change much as I got older. While I was at university I went to so many ceilidhs that to my surprise, I I began to learn steps. The encouragement of most of the boys was an added bonus. Each time I danced with on ofthem often they would slow their pace and tell me I was doing great. Meanwhile, the other girls would be spun around at breakneck speed, often hurtling to the floor, resulting in ‘Chinese burns on their arms.
Many years have passed and I have gradually forgotten the steps. Fortunately occasions when I need them are few and far between these days. I would still love to be able to dance properly. Several years ago I was at a conference where there was a teenage dance group. One of the girls was partially disabled as a consequence of physical abuse. However, she danced so fluently and with such skill that you soon forgot her disability and l was left awestruck. Her perfomace was the highlight of the day for many and left them in tears. How I longed to be able to dance like her.
This longing have never left me but surprisingly increased as the years have passed. I am comforted by the fact that one day Jesus will give me a new body. I will never feel any pain or age and will have no limitations. I cannot wait for that day when I will finally now what it feels like to be able to dance like that. I cannot wait. Of course Jesus gets the first dance!

coffee, naps, and blog posts…

Forgotten everything I’ve learned…

Today’s daily prompt really made me think, as I couldn’t remember at first the last time I learned something new. I thought back to my last period of formal study, for counselling skills qualifications, and  that was two years ago possibly, I can’t actually remember, and then I counted up the years since I began my Masters degree, and realised with some shock September will be seven years! I tried to think then. of more recent times, and couldn’t think of any new hobbies. Then the answer hit me full in the face.

Just a beginner…

I’m having to apply myself to learning how to  write. For a start, I’ve never considered myself a writer. This may seem odd, as I have the equivalent of an A in English at GCSE equivalent  and an A at A level (AS2?). Not only that, but I have a 2:1 in English Studies at degree level too. The one piece of creative writing I remember doing, I did all right. I wrote about what I knew, and managed to get s B-. I was pretty chuffed then!

Drawing Pins…

I also once wrote a poem about drawing pins for a creative writing group I was part of for a while. Let me explain. While I was at my (on-campus) university, I used a mobility scooter to get from place to place. They’re basically glorified electric wheelchairs and their use has become more controversial depending on your view. They are considered a nuisance by many people, especially if used on the pavement or holding up traffic.

When I bought the scooter, a flatmate had just broken her leg and her scooter crushed her leg. That was down to a fairly cost effective lightweight model. The scooter I chose was a much heavier less sexy more expensive model. Having borrowed another flatmate’s scooter I decided against ‘puncture proof’ solid tires. In those days, the English Studies Department used notice boards and drawing pins, meaning I often had to phone security or a friend for help with fixing the puncture. I once wrote a poem about my plight, and the ‘teeth’ of the pins, which a few in the English Studies Department remembered fondly even a few years later. I later discovered my poem was the department’s reason for the swanky, glass covered notice boards which enclosed the pins, preventing their escape– Result!!

A head start…

These being my only forays into creative writing, I took some persuading when a good friend asked me to write for her friend’s website. However, my friend persevered, and eventually persuaded me. I was delighted recently when my very first post for The Big Bible Project was among the Top Ten most shared posts last year!

I am aware I have much to learn, not only in learning how to write, but also, in learning how to study again, and build a following within the constraints of my crazy body and limited energy. Perhaps this is my priority, to learn to ‘work’ and study within my limitations, This is partly why one of my resolutions this year was focused on a post a day, to try to coax myself into cultivating good habits, and learning though practice, as Jeff Goins recommends in his book You are a Writer, so Start Acting Like One. 

I’m off to apply myself to reading proverbs 31 for next Bible Study for Bible Reflections. Watch this space…

I’ll always remember these things….

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Let’s get the tough ones over with, shall we?!

This is another post where I could write an epic! There’s been quite a few teachers who influenced me for the better or worse. Starting on a bad note, there have been teachers mostly nearing retirement who made life difficult for me, probably without meaning to, although my parents did go in and talk to one of them.

There have been several who made a difference, including an English teacher at high school. I don’t think they particularly encouraged me with my writing, I just remember them cos I got on well with them. There’s another English teacher who I sent a Christmas card to and ask after because they go to the same Assembly Hall as my grandparents. Another teacher who I really liked is one allegedly ran off with a pupil of another school a few years after I left. I felt so sad, for one reason and another, when I heard that.

Mr G!

My favourite, teacher of all has to be Mr Grant, who taught me for a few months in my final year of Primary School. He left because he got a promotion to Assistant Headteacher, in a different school in the region. We all loved him. That year was a turbulent one for me. My class contained more pupils than was allowed, so they had to split us up somehow, and I was one of the ones left, with people I didn’t really get on with at the time, as well and the same teacher my parents had to go in and talk to. In the end, I got moved classes because the school’s reason for keeping me behind was reason for complaint and I moved. It was such a horrible time. The teacher was hurt I think, but was horrid to me, and then so were the pupils in the class I moved to who said that the teacher hadn’t wanted me in his class but had no choice and all these things. All of this still stings now, and how many years was it?! Heapies and Heapies!

Anyway, Mr G was an AMAZING teacher, the kind who should have one an award. I remember getting extra help with P.E. by being allowed to practice netball in the school hall at break-time, and once scoring a goal in the playground! I also got extra help with Maths. I will write soon about some of the early years, but I wasn’t supposed to finish primary school at all, especially in maths, so the extra help then, and with the maths/reasoning side of Biology classes in 4th year at high school from the wonderful Mrs B made SUCH a difference.

Mrs P!

Primary School was not the same without him, though in that last year, the rest  taught by a job share with Mrs F, and the headteacher, who went with us on our class trip to an outdoor adventure place. i remember snapshots of that week well, good and bad, but do not wish to go into that here! The bit that sticks in my head is that Mrs P was fabulous that week but later showed the school photos (on acetate and OHP!!) of me reaching the top of the climbing wall, and absenting and the like. I’ll leave you with that thought….

friends, family and favourites

oooh, this is awkward…

Today’s daily post is an awkward question to answer, as I don’t actually have a favourite person, if we’re talking ‘significant other’ as it were. I talked this over with a friend, and they say said, why didn’t I immediately say Jesus was my favourite person?  True enough, that’s what I should have said. As a Christian, I should  put Jesus first, before anyone or anything, my first love. Time I walk away is still harder than time with Him. I can answer the question a different way…

Jesus should be ‘my favourite’?

 

I know, looking back He’s enabled me to me walk through so many difficulties in the past few years. Things I’ve already written about, including failing my teaching degree, being ill and trying to pass a Master’s degree. Add to that, complicated major surgery, becoming a full-time wheelchair user, starting to need carers two-three times a day, and managing The Bag. There’s no way I’d still here without Him and I know He’s there for me every moment of every day, and in the happy moments too. In these times I’m reminded I am to rejoice in everything, and have joy even in the tough times. I’m still learning those things!

As I’ve written before, many of my friends are my favourite people, along with my parents. I still feel quite dependent on them, really. Odd, considering I live independently, and for the most part, have done since 2001,  That said, I owe everything to them, for lots of reasons, and often miss them. My Gran’s another favourite person as we’re quite close, and she’s a kind of mentor to me.

 

waiting

 

Maybe, just maybe

who else? Well… I haven’t met them yet, and they haven’t met me. That is. if there is someone, or if God has something else, something he considers better for me. These things aren’t easy to write. Traditionally, there’s a focus on family, in churches, and usually, Christians who hold similar views to me marry young. My parents try to encourage me with anecdotes of women they know who are older than me and still faithfully waiting for the person God has for them, and if they do not show up, they will not settle for less. Oh how I admire their discipline. I know I don’t want to compromise  but sometimes the temptation is great.

which is ‘better’; single or married?

 

According to some friends I’m good at being perceptive about people in their lives, but by my admission, sometimes hopeless with my own. I’m also aware, if I marry the wrong person, being with them, and coping with all my health problems would be hell. It feels like so much pressure sometimes, and a bit of a relief to stay single. Other times, I’d like the someone special… especially when I look at friends who have found ‘the one’ but at the same time, it hits me that I should keep waiting because it might be worth it eventually. I’m hyper-aware of the tendency to ‘over-share’… enough now.

They’re special, my friends (part two)

“The type of friend you attract is determined by the type of friend you are.” #friendship

I’ve really believed this, and tried to live it for the last few years. I cannot tell you when it began. It started with a slow realization about all the people I’d hurt in the past through mood swings, things I’d said without thinking, or just for the heck.of it. There was times I was awful in school, even though I claimed I was a Christian. Once or twice it was because people egged me on to say things, and I wasn’t strong enough to say no. I was even worse when I was about 6 or 7 and onwards. I was a bossy little madam, among other things. I lost a lot of friends, as I did at other times too. It all stayed with me as I didn’t even try to change. I’ve said all this backwards.

Anyway, I gradually got to the stage where I really believe the kind of friend you are can help bring you the kind of friends you would like to have.  If you are happy in yourself, and generally peaceful, I’ve discovered this is helpful too.  I’m not sure what else. I also believe it works the way the quote says too. I have such amazing friends hopefully makes me a better friend too  I LOVE my friends. I wrote about them recently for a differently daily prompt and I can’t top what I said then. To every last one of you, thank you.

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This is a response to the daily prompt for 4/1/13