Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Just passing by -but some are ripe for harvest

In recent years my husband and I have taken to a bit of foraging. There are so many things in our area that can be used that just simply people pass by.
Elderflower, dandelions, brambles (Blackberry) apples and elderberries to name a few.

Granted we tend to use it them for wine or crumbles but never the less there are lots of things you can just pass many think its easier to go to the supermarket.

The other day I picked some brambles after a dog walk. We are gathering as much as we can and then we will make wine or maybe once apples are ready have a nice crumble.

As I was picking some were over ripe and just squirted juice and stained my hands. At another bush a strand of thorns came whipping down and stuck to my arm in 3 places ripping my skin.

I gathered enough in the tub I had with me and left, aware that many were not ripe yet. In my mind there is a wee marker saying check back in a week if you have time and there will be plenty more.

Yesterday I spoke to someone that used to be a church goer but no longer attends. They still believe but something happened along the way that they were not sure of and we they stopped for a bit.... Then things got in the way and life goes on.

My conversation was intentional. I had not caught up with this person for a while and I knew things had not been easy. It was only a 20min informal chat but it was deep in the sense we spoke about family, looking after ageing parents and death.

The conversation was genuine. Not forced in any way. There was even hilarity despite some of the topics we discussed. The person in question was brought up in the church. There was no "well you know you need to come back".... it did not seem appropriate...

But if I was to use a counselling term, there was genuine regard for each other.

Fruit ripens in its own time. Some things ripen faster than others. It does not always work to pick at things before they are ready to be picked.

Life is a journey and often along the way the thorns come a long and embed into your skin. It can take a while to get untangled, the barbs can leave a mark..

The connection I made was intentional. My connection however was also unconditional. No preach included. Some may think this kind of interaction is fruitless or pointless. It is not. It's an opportunity. The alternative would have been to simply pass by and let the fruit fall to the wayside or leave it for the birds.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Home is where the heart is - A Rosie of Clifford Road, the end of an era.

I posted the other day, as we put Mum and dad's house on the market that it was devastating and like my heart is being ripped out.

There is an saying "Home is where the heart is" and that is true.

 At the end of this week is my birthday - mid forties. All of my life, infact for all of my dad's life (minus 6 weeks) home was Clifford Road. It's been in the family for nearly 82 years.

Be clear that I have lived elsewhere and I have been married for nearly 19 years and had another home - but HOME was Clifford Road.

I know that because when I need to call my husband at home, I still sometimes start to call my parent's house number.

When we stopped the line from incoming calls a few months ago, I cried. Other family members have different attachments and have different reactions. For me though that change was significant.

Grief gets you like that and everyone is different.

If I had the money I would buy the whole building back. (It's a traditional house that has been divided over the years.)

When I used to say I was a Rosie, someone would normally know where my grandfather lived and then they would laugh as I would say we are still there.

My grandfather, whom I never knew, sold his sweetie shop to buy the home for his growing family. He eventually had 6 kids and someone would normally know an aunt, uncle or someone in the family.

He then went on to do Penny insurance door to door, so the family name was known. When clearing the house recently we found some of his old receipt books....

How I have never seen them before I do not know.

In the second world war Grandpa apparently let out the house (the flat that was my home) to those escaping the London Blitz.

Later a dear old couple  "The Mansons" rented it from Grandpa as their first home after they got married.

The Mansons were a godly couple, Joe laid they foundational stone of the church I go to and Betty bless her had an indirect connection to how I met my husband... both in glory now.

This is just a snippet of the stories I could tell. I may tell more yet.

When the house went on the market last week and I saw the picture online.... the reality of what I knew needed to happen, coming to life......

I yelped.

This resounding heartfelt "I can't breathe" yelp, then I cried.

I am and always will be a Rosie of Clifford Road.

Oh if that house could talk.
So I am grieving a home and the loss of both parents within 3 years.

As those who know losing your final parent is different. When dad died the Head teacher of the school at that time told me to be ready for feeling orphan like when mum goes.

I was polite at the time but I remember him saying you will feel like an orphan, you will think you are crazy but it happens to lots of people and they don't expect it.

When I told my cousin that, she said I wish someone had told me that when I lost mum, I thought I was going crazy.

The head teacher was right and I wish I could thank him for preparing me for that rather strange piece of advise, as it was invaluable.

So the grief continues...

Today my husband's aunt posted a blog by Mel Wiggins.

Well worth a read....

It shows that it is not just me and I am not a crazy emotional woman....

I  am infact quite normal.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

It's okay to say that you are not Okay

Have you ever been in the position where someone has asked you "How are you?" and you just know that the answer that they are expecting is "Fine thanks and you?" You just know that the question is said out of habit or as a common greeting rather than genuine care about your wellbeing.

People learn from social cues. So fortunately we tend to know when people ask for politeness sake as oppose to those that actually want an honest answer from you.

I don't know if its an age thing or not - I am kind of known for speaking my mind. In certain circumstances... It is certainly the case though that I have less concern about the need to sugar coat things just in-case the person listening does not like the harsh reality of facts.

I read the other day an article that a minister had written about how to look after a pastor.  There is a tendency to say, you can't complain... you are in God's service and its for God's glory so of course you will do it.

The problem comes though when the world creeps in. Or worse still people take a look at your good nature, bargain on the fact that you are servant hearted and won't say no.... and slowly but surely you are ground down.

I have a diploma in Clinical and Pastoral counselling. I have not used it much formally but in another sense I use it all the time.

It is good to get a sense of what your norm is, what you can carry and when you are nearing your limit.

Even when you are reaching your limit, you still have the problem that you need to clearly state to others NO, I can't do that. EVEN if you get that far you have the additional problem that people don't actually want to hear NO from you. The don't want to receive that message, they only want to hear "Yes of course I will."

So is it ok, to say that you are not? And if you do, how do people react?

Showing weakness catches people by surprise.

Some who know you listen, park it in there mind and keep a watchful eye ... possibly making a mental note to check in with you.

Some slightly panic and think that you should stop all work now... (which is fine if that is what you want and that you get sick pay....but if you are self employed that may actually not be helpful at all)

What happens then if it takes longer than people would like?

Loss is loss. It is never the same again. The stake or time marker has changed everything. Some days you can be okay and feel that you can cope with the world, other days you feel you can't breathe. Time is a great healer.... no it is not.... time just passes and you learn how to live again under new terms.

I have had colleagues that have tried to avoid me being in situations. Now this may be a good thing but sometimes, just sometimes I want to scream why should I pretend that all is good and right when its not?

If someone has wronged me why on earth can I not say That should not have happened?

If no one else has your back you need to stand firm and say what you need to say.

Obviously you need to be wise in such matters. It could horrendously back fire on you.... you might be seen as an agitator or a trouble maker....but sometimes you have to BE THE CHANGE.

That can be a hard blaze trailing route to take.

I can sense some of you reading this is saying Uh -oh are you ok? You actually probably know the answer to that already if you truly know me.

Another gargantuan wave is a coming and I don't see me surfing it with a smile on my face.... but those who know me know I have weathered many hard storms.

"He will not crush the weakest reed or put out a flickering candle. He will bring justice to all who have been wronged."
Isaiah 42:3 NLT

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Are you ready for a mindset shift?

A few weeks ago, I had a bunch of students come and visit to see what I do in the city and to do some missions work.
I sat down one night and thought, how do I prepare for this? So as you do you get all the information and try to think about presentation.  I ended up scrapping my planned, in control communication and told the blunt truth about the path I walk. I am fed up sugar coating things.

Lately I have been in a few situations where I have found myself not quite fitting someone else's box in terms of what a missionary does or how to engage.

It has brought about all kinds of reflections as to whether you see the big picture or small picture?

There are those who see "living by faith" as something where people fund you and anything less is not right.

There are those in modern day Christianity that see this way of living as no better than those on benefits.  What you expect me to fund you?

There are those who give their funds freely, unconditionally and those (like any financial institution) want to control and place conditions on you.

I seem to make a habit of blowing everyone's pre conceived ideas out of the water.

I am a missionary. I would love to be in a place where I am fully funded and I have the freedom to just get on and follow my call. It has never been that way for me.

The problem with that is that Christians sometimes look at the lack of funding and say things like.... "Maybe its not your call, maybe you should give up."

My solution to this at present is Biblical. If the money is not there.... I work for it.

I own technically 2 businesses. One is selling gifts and jewellery when ever I get a chance to make and take stalls at a fayre. The other is dog walking.

Juggling all these things with family as well as missions work is exhausting, but never the less it can be done.

Another problem with our human brain is that we like nice neat boxes and well frankly very little of what I do fits in a box let alone neatly in a box.

 People see what they want to see. They don't always want the full picture.

I have been reflecting on some decisions. In 2015 we bought my first ever car. We had wondered whether to buy a second one or get rid of the rust bucket we have. We bought a second car and when the rust bucket died  and we had to pay the cost of a car to fix it we did wonder if we had made a bad decision. We still have not paid that bill fully but we can't wait to get rid of it as now the passenger door does not open from the inside.

But and here is the but... If we had not bought the 2nd car I would have not been able to care for mum in the same way and run to the hospital in emergencies.

God had said do not start new things and I knew mum might not be around for long.... but I also knew ministry would go on after... and it is.

Opportunities are popping up without us initiating it.
New shoots are coming...
Another team is coming in August.

There is no rule book, its about obedience and timing. 

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