Wednesday 29 August 2012

Here's the new blog if you're interested:

Sunday 15 July 2012

Blog Retirement

It's time.

Time to retire this blog and begin a new chapter.

Thanks for following if you followed. Thanks for commenting if you did - your comments were enjoyed (usually) :)

If you care to follow the next one, you can find it at....I'll let you know.


Monday 25 June 2012

Being Old-Fashioned

Perhaps you might expect me to apologise for this old-fashionedness....this love of making things “from scratch”, of preferring books to a TV, of cooking and baking and loving a simpler life. Of not partying or drinking very much, of loving the outdoors and working hard with my hands and mind. Is it old-fashioned to look at the outline of a tree in the sky and see poetry? To not have to be happy and still be joyful? To be content even if, like Daniel, you don’t like the place you live? Is “old-fashioned” wrong if is upright and holy? Has being modest gone out of fashion with Christians? Am I wrong to not want to live like my neighbour, even as I live with them? Am I weird for not wearing the fashion because it just doesn’t seem.....Godly?

In noticing that I’m rather an odd one out around here, I have some to agree with Elizabeth Bennet:

“There are few people whom I really love, and still fewer of whom I think well. The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it; and every day confirms my belief of the inconsistency of all human characters, and of the little dependence that can be placed on the appearance of merit or sense.”

I’m learning much about what I respect in people. One of my favourite phrases is that something or someone is “unkind, rude, and disrespectful”. These three things are probably the worst character traits in my eyes. Kindness shows the choice of love, politeness valuing the other person more, and respect again putting them first. These traits seem to be overlooked or thought of as old-fashioned. They’ve gone out of style. Gone are the days when you wouldn’t speak to someone unless you were introduced to them – out of politeness and as not to be disrespectful. Gone are the days when simple politeness was “normal” and it wasn’t unheard of for someone to help a stranger – and the stranger didn’t think they were going to be mugged. Not too long ago, when I was about 7.5 months pregnant, I was on a bus standing next to an elderly lady. Yes, standing, while both men and women sat and looked at us. I was appalled, embarrassed for their lack on manners – especially to have a wee old lady stand while they sat!

So where is my rant going....well, it’s just that I am thinking a lot about honour these days. Honour of God and honour of my husband mostly, and then how that looks in my life. And I think that one of the ways I’m honouring God is by being what the world calls “old-fashioned”. In my life right now that means I’m choosing specific things for Charlotte – like having her life be very simple – not a lot of toys, not a lot of things like TV and music (other than simple Sunday school songs and classical music). It looks like me being careful in my choices of time management. It would be really easy for me to watch too much TV now that I’m home all the time, or fritter away the time. Rather than that, I am choosing to be careful that what I read is wholesome (another old-fashioned thing) and that I spend some extra time studying the Bible.

And this is all leading where? Hopefully to a better understanding of what it means to be in the world but not of it. That I learn better to honour God and people around me, and that as Charlotte grows she sees the fruits of kindness, gentleness and self-control. Joyfulness being better than “happiness” and that she (and I) realise that contentedness is something to choose.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

time management

What a boring title for a blog! Blog posts are supposed to be interesting or crafty, or exciting, or encouraging, but that, that is just plain boring! And yet, it is really more of the reality of my life right now than being interesting, fun, crafty, exciting or anything else that springs to mind. I enjoy reading other people's blogs - especially those people who seem to have the life that I wish I did. Not that I'm discontent with my life, not at all, but I would love to be able to live more outside, more naturally (more granola as A likes to tell me), more Godly. These blogs are either written by people who 1) have too much time on their hands 2) have a better handle on life than I do or 3) are very good at time management.

Ah, and here is where the crux of the matter is: time management. Now that the Bean is 11 weeks (!!) and we've got a pretty good handle on eating and napping and sleeping during the night, I have the ability to manage my personal time a bit better. So lately I've been trying to take the opportunity to do some more serious Bible study and right now am working my way through Gideon with the intention of moving backwards in Judges to Deborah. One of the things that has really struck me about Gideon (Judges 4-6) was that his problems were caused by his ancestors not following the Lord's commands. In Numbers 31 God said to destroy the Midianites, which the Israelites didn't do. Because of this, the Midianites came back to oppress the Israelites. Israel had once again turned away from God so God allowed the things they didn't destroy to cause problems for them.

 Now, I'm not great at seeing how to apply things from the Bible - especially Old Test. stories - but this one really made me look at those things that God commanded me to get rid of that I didn't and are now causing problems for me. My attitude towards people in general hasn't been great lately and I'm digging for the root cause so I don't plant seeds that will come up further down the line in my life, or worse, in C's!

 My conclusion? Even as I'm working at destroying the things God has told me to, He is still willing to come and use me and teach me. Judges 6v14: "Go with the strength you have, and rescue Israel (yourself) from the Midianites (all those things I told you to get rid of). I am sending you!" and 6v16: "I will be with you. And you will destroy them all as if you were fighting against one man."

Sunday 22 January 2012

preparation for a non-consumer

Eight weeks left! Yikes - eight weeks!!!! The closer we get to the birth, the more people want to give you all sorts of advice and comments that so obviously reflect their desires or opinions, not generic ones. I just have to laugh - especially when it's people who I have no respect for, especially in the child raising stakes. It is funny when you're going to do something that they obviously didn't do and are almost annoyed at you for planning on. For example, we're going to use reusable diapers/nappies. This seems to be a big deal and people are almost annoyed by it. As if because they didn't do it, we shouldn't be attempting it. The amount of comments I get like, "oh you'll give up on that in a few weeks" or "you'll not like doing that", aren't the most encouraging. But frankly, if our mum's generation all did it, it's not that big of a deal. They're certainly more convenient than they were when I was a child.

As we prep and plan in these last few weeks, we are beginning to realise more and more how much "Stuff" people buy for their kids or think we should buy for this baby. Of course, there are some things that will be helpful and although sort of 'extra' will be of good use. I like those things. But really, this baby isn't even going to remember if it has stuff or not, so why start at the beginning to teach it about consumerism? And do things really have to be brand new?! Ok, I'll admit we have bought some things new - our pram and car seat are new. But we bought them on offer and they ended up being cheaper new than had we bought them second hand. But we have enough 'stuff' without making our child a consumeristic entity.

So my goal is not to accumulate a whole load of "stuff" for this child. I'm happy for it to have what it needs and enjoy it and won't deprive it, but I am also happy to try and keep people from giving 'stuff', just for the sake of it. I know it's tempting, but let's look at necessity here. It's going to have a warm and dry place to sleep and plenty to eat with clean water. Now really, what more does it need besides our love and care?

Friday 23 December 2011

early morning 23.12.11

In lying awake for several hours tonight and mulling over my sorrow with the Lord, I was reminded of a moment I had on Cave Hill all those years ago before moving here. I said to God that my heart would break and I would be broken if I moved here. He said, no, it was His heart and He that would break. If I would stand on Him, the shock waves wouldn't break me, but would go through me to Him.

8 years on from that moment I feel like I'm breaking. The reason I thought I was supposed to live here has never materialised; the things I think I can offer, no one wants. Do I feel like I'm breaking cause I'm trying to 'do it myself'? Am I really not letting God take the hit and am relying on myself?

I don't even know what to do to try and 'fix' things. In 3 months I'm going to become a mother. A mother in what very much seems to be an isolated existence. How did missionaries do it when they were completely by themselves and the only 'normal' communication they had was a letter that took months to reach them? Well, they did it by relying wholly on the Lord, so I must continue to try and learn that, focus on that, and have that be the reason for all.

And hope in doing that I find the comfort the Psalmist found when He wrote: 'He will not let your foot slip, behold He who keeps you will neither slumber nor sleep.'

Friday 25 March 2011

how much?

I'm always amazed at what people write on their blogs. They seem so interesting and open - my posts always feel a bit stilted. You see, being so open on something that is as public as a blog is something that I struggle with doing. Do I really tell people - the general public - whoever might happen upon this - what is really happening to my life, my heart, my....everything?

Do I tell you that I'm rather distracted and disturbed by life? That I'm always lonely and frustrated that I have no friends? That I get frustrated that people who say they are fellow believers here don't seem to care about actually living for God? That I'm living on a shred of hope that someday I really might conceive? That when I smell the wind and see the light through the trees my heart pounds with its beauty? That I have a dream someday I will be useful in ways I will be able to see? That I hate this land and love it? That my confusion isn't because of what I don't know, but what I do?


This week I'm heading to London for a few meetings. Times like this I love my job. I get to meet up with people who have jobs I think are incredibly fascinating and see if I can get them telling stories. The only odd thing about it is that I am usually the only female. Granted, how many women actually do work in the government/utility industries? Not many. So I end up being surrounded by men (most of whom are old enough to be my dad) and laughing at how nearly over-protective they are. There are a few who seem to think that I actually know what I'm talking about and listen to my views - this is always nice. But there are a lot more who give off the impression of "oh bless, isn't she cute playing at this? we'd better humour her." I distinctly dislike this side of things. It's not like it's MY fault I'm young and female. Sheesh, gimme a couple years and it'll sort itself least the young bit. (hehehe)

Then there are ones like this one who seems to think that my only reason for being in London should be to go out for a drink with him and that I work too much. He doesn't seem to get that his attention is unwanted and definitely unlooked for. How many times do you have to say "no thank you" before someone gets the idea that you're not going to go? Obviously more than I have already said - silly man, it's not going to happen.

But even so, I am going to enjoy this trip - staying with great friends, sushi lunches with people who make me laugh and a little bit of Anna Chapman.

Saturday 8 January 2011

dreaming of planting

It's January. That month when the plants are either leaf-less or seemingly dead. Every plant I have is struggling to survive the harsh cold we're experiencing. With the country's water supply system in literal pieces and my office under review with their dealing of the situation, I dream of freshness...of spring, of summer, of what it will produce for me.

Even though most of my plant are dead, there are a few who are brave enough to flaunt their heart in the face of the cold. My daffodils are already peaking forth from below the frosted ground. The willow in the corner of the garden still hides the tiny birds and has started to produce a string of buds, once more showing it's hardiness. Despite being covered in snow and ice for two weeks, as few of the herbs aren't completely frozen. And so I wait to see what will survive the winter.

But while I wait, I dream of my garden. Of what I will plant...and my seeds have arrived!

I might have gone a little over board this year. Last year I had two beds and a load of pots strewn around the garden. This year I'll plan better. While I'll still do onions, even thought they take up so much room, I'll not have shallots this year. They will have to wait until I have a proper, big garden with more than two small beds. I'll have Oregon Sugar Pod peas again, but put them at the back of the bed where they won't block the sun (beginners mistake last year), radishes and carrots will go in right away and will be planted two or three times as they ripen, while I'll not make the mistake of having dill in the bed again. Last year it tried to take over, so I'll keep it in a well watered pot, along with the gerkins. Lettuce gets a couple plantings over the course of the summer/autumn so it'll be a nice mix over the time. French beans (not the mini plants this year, but proper climbers, and broccoli will fill the rest of the beds.

I think my favourites are the potatoes...they go in the bags and I have extra bags this year so hope to have lots more than last year - just need to figure out how to store them afterward.

I also got flowers this year...seeds and will be getting plants. This will take some sorting as I've not got enough pots to plan all these, but might try to convince A to build me a raised flower bed against the back fence.

Hopefully this will all work. I'd like to go pickles again this year with the gerkins, only more than 5 jars. They turned out pretty well, taste-wise. Maybe cooked a bit long.

Friday 17 December 2010

changing seasons or jack of all trades...

It's snowing....lots. Unusual for us, but apparently not this winter as we've already had a bout of snow, which then melted and has now returned with a vengeance. Such a vengeance that A is stuck in England. Two flights canceled and he's now hired a car and trying to drive several hundred miles north to catch a ferry. If he gets the ferry he'll be back to NI sometime in the early hours of the morning. Fun - or something. At least he's with a co-worker.

I'm enjoying 6+ inches of snow and it's still falling. It slightly amuses me that the whole of the UK stutters to a halt with a bit of snow. I realise that putting the several million into the infrastructure would be impractical, so I'm not advocating that by any means. But really, snow isn't that big of a deal - put it in a low gear, go slow and don't stop - you'll be fine. Or just get out and walk. There is just no need for this widespread panic.

As the season becomes harshly winter, I remember times in my life when everything was like the death of winter. But even through times when there seemed to be no growth, roots were pushing deeper and eventually, small bits of green growth started to show. My life has been a dramatically changing season the past year. Recently, I've been finding it difficult to put words to thoughts, almost as if my brain is struggling to remember the basics of my mother tongue. This has happened a few times in my life, but never with such strength as it is currently. My husband assures me it's only because my brain is being stretched to it's limit with my job, and once that becomes more 'normal' instead of being a constant struggle, my brain will accept those things that I've known all my life. It better do that, otherwise I'm going to wander about trying to think of the word for 'toilet-roll'. :)

But seasons bring such interesting changes and through provoking ones at that. the past several weeks has brought thoughts of 'being content' and 'settling where planted'. Wanting to do everything has always been something I've had to watch out for. Jack of all trades, master of none, has always been an appropriate moniker for me. Not something of which I'm terribly proud. But I'm trying to settle down and focus on what's in front of me. Not to waste opportunities or forget that there are things right in front of me that I need to do, and do well. I need to not be selfish and keep looking always ahead, but look at the current season and see what I need to be putting myself into.

I'm wondering, though, if it's time I took a step back from some things. I want to make sure that I'm not pulling back from things and then filling my time wastefully. But there are a few things that perhaps are no longer necessary. The new year will be a good, natural time to re-evaluate.

Thursday 18 November 2010


My friend is really sick. She has a brain tumour. Oh, my heart aches. And she? She is beauty personified. She continues to love, to believe, to encourage, to laugh.

She is a hero.