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Hello there blog. Sorry it’s been a while. But now it’s May and the sun is shining and I think I should see if my brain links to my typing fingers for more than 140 characters. What news in the Vicarage?

1. I gave some talks to people I’d not met before, which was a first for me. The lovely spouses of Sheffield Diocese asked me to speak to them on Messy Ministry and so I spent last Saturday talking to them and encouraging them to talk to each other about the messy and peculiar world of Vicarage life. I was very much encouraged to meet them and hear of God’s work in Yorkshire. I also got to drive past the church where my parents were married, as the venue we were using was just close to the village where my Yorkshire grandparents used to live.

2. The Ministry of a Messy House is available in German now. I have a copy of Herrlich Unperfekt but my schoolgirl German isn’t quite up to reading it. They even translated my dad’s poem.

3. The book in English is currently being reprinted by IVP, as they are out of stock in the warehouse. There should be another 500 copies available at the end of May. See if you can find one at your local Christian bookshop in the meantime.

4. I have cleared my desk. This momentous achievement means that my head feels a little less messy. Maybe I’ll even start writing things again. Although it’s amazing how attractive housework becomes once there’s something else that you feel you should be doing instead.

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It’s more than a year since my book The Ministry of a Messy House was published. It’s been a fun year, seeing something I can’t quite believe that I produced stocked in catalogues and bookshops and conferences. I’ve had opportunities to speak on the grace of God in our messes and muddle and have a couple more speaking engagements coming up next year. People have commented encouragingly on the book here and in a few other spots on the internet. Comments have come from the UK and also further afield: Australia, New Zealand and the US I think.

And this week I’ve had confirmation that The Ministry of a Messy House is going to be translated and published in Germany by Neukirchener. The contract has been signed but I’m not sure when it will be available to buy. I can’t say that a German translation was something I anticipated as I was writing! The proposed new title seems rather lengthy:

Herrlich Unperfekt: Erfrischende Geständnisse einer chaotischen Pfarrfrau

which according to Google translate is:

Delightfully Imperfect: refreshing confessions of a chaotic pastor’s wife

I think they may have sussed me out….

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I think you’re all *probably* aware that last year I wrote a book. Over Christmas a couple more reviews appeared online – Mark Cresswell posted on his blog and E D Farr posted on Amazon

And my publisher, IVP, have a special offer on e-books which expires today. Books are priced from 99p, and The Ministry of a Messy House is going for £2.50. The e-books work on Kindles and other specialist readers, and on tablet apps, but you could also read it on your PC or laptop if you don’t have those gadgets. If you like, of course.

I’m now waiting with a little trepidation to see what unexpected things the Lord has in store for me in 2014. I already seem to be committed to a speaking engagement in March (and one in 2015 – nothing like planning ahead, eh?!). And now I have something new in January too. I will be travelling up to the UCB studios in Stoke on Trent to talk about mess and the Christian with Paul Hammond for his Life Issues programme. Not until the end of the month, so I have time to clear my head from the Christmas fuzziness that seems to have set in. I’m not sure when the programme will be broadcast, but I’ll let you know…

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A friend tagged me last night on Facebook with this picture of her copy of The Ministry of a Messy House. It took her a while to find it on the table. Looks almost identical to our hall table. Although I think there’s a miniature Amy Pond figure there rather than a toy gun. I’m sure there’s some great ministry going on in her house.

Messy book lost

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I have just got round to putting a direct link to my publisher, IVP, on the blog. It’s at the top of the right hand column. If you click through you’ll get to the ThinkIVP website, where IVP books (and books from other Christian publishers) are available at great discounts. You can get The Ministry of a Messy House there for only £5.99 and the e-book version at £5 – the cheapest pretty much anywhere. ThinkIVP donate 20% of all spending on the site towards Growing Timothys – providing books to leaders in Africa and across the majority world. So if you’re wanting a copy, you know it makes sense…

IVPheaderNB This makes me an IVP affiliate, so I receive a fee for referrals. If you buy a few books I might buy a takeaway and save on the washing up one night. Or do something more godly with the money – I shall have to think of a creative giving idea to go with the book.

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I enjoyed my book signing at CLC in Birmingham very much last weekend. I met some lovely people in the shop – both staff and customers, and some of them even bought a copy of The Ministry of a Messy House. On Saturday I also appeared in the local paper after they’d sent a photographer round to take a pic. He spent a good while rearranging the mess in my kitchen to perfect his shot. Sadly, he didn’t rearrange any of it so that it was tidier…

MMH EandS

Our diocese also published online the article that appeared in the diocesan newspaper this month. The online version has a short video of me in my messy kitchen talking about the book and why we need to know God’s grace. The mess is slightly differently arranged – the icecream tub has moved a bit.

And this week, the first proper review of my book was published online. Eddie Arthur of Wycliffe BIble Translators liked my book and thought that men should read it too (he also blogged a bit of the book that had struck him earlier in the week). This made me happy. I am finding this bit of being an author slightly rollercoastery. Still fun and interesting and occasionally exhilerating. When I’m not feeling slightly nauseous, that is…

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Jackie and Hannah’s were the names picked out by the Queen from the scrunched up pieces of paper I held in my hand this evening. Last two names in the competition were the first two chosen. I shall email you a code for you to collect your free e-book of The Ministry of a Messy House! Thanks to everyone for the excellent descriptions of messy areas in their houses.

The messiest part of the Vicarage is currently the space around and underneath the table in the hall passage leading to the Baltic downstairs loo. It’s a dumping ground for craft stuff we’re not sure what to do with and beneath it is a basket which contains stuff that previous MTs have not known what to do with when they moved out. I really must get round to sorting it out. Just as soon as I’ve finished the washing up. And the laundry. And writing this blogpost…

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