Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Faith’ Category

Recently I have started combining two tech blessings – the YouBible app and my mobile phone’s camera, using YouBible’s nifty ‘image’ menu that appears if you underline a verse.

I’ve enjoyed some great views of late – tropical islands, misty autumn mornings and some spectacular West Brom sunsets. And so I’ve used these backgrounds when God’s word has spoken to me. Creating the image – choosing and sizing a font, selecting a crop of a photo – has enabled me to meditate as I create.

And now my blogging software is enabling me to share these Bible pictures with you, and put them up here on the internet in a rather beautiful tableau. Sometimes technology makes me smile.

 

Read Full Post »

My sister and I are expert procrastinators. And we were talking this evening about how Doing the Next Thing is helping us both this year. It’s just small things for me – putting the paper straight in the bin instead of leaving it for “later” (an expandable time that may end up being several months), or responding to the email that came in and not just reading and having the need to reply buzzing about my head for several days (or weeks – told you I was an expert).

And it also made me think about how it’s okay to Do the Next Thing, but not Do Everything. My bedroom is a case in point – as I mentioned yesterday, my side of the bed had become rather a dangerous obstacle course. What I didn’t mention was that the dust was several inches deep on my bedside cabinet and the chest of drawers next to the bed. And that the books piled up in several locations were beginning to totter alarmingly.

2000px-international_tidyman-svgBut I’ve not quite had the mojo to tackle everything in one fell swoop. So I’ve been clearing up a little at a time. This has had the advantage of being quite achievable – just five minutes or so per day, tackling one part of the problem. And it means that the smug ‘look at that tidy spot’ feeling can be stretched over at least a week as you make small changes. And best of all, it hasn’t given me Tidy Insomnia – that strange feeling of excitement and buzziness that I get when I’ve tidied my bedroom in one go. And that stops me sleeping.

My sister confirms that she too suffers from Tidy Insomnia. And we both find that late night tidying can lead to this phenomenon too. Dangerous thing, tidying up. But it can be done if tackled in small doses. Or so I’ve found this week.

Read Full Post »

myth-clipart-xcgrmgocaI have many faults, but I think my worst one is probably my slothful attitude to mornings. I loathe getting up. It’s partly about sleeping, and partly about hating to leave my warm comfortable bed for a chilly Vicarage.

Ideally, I think I would really like to run my life like Mrs Stitch in Evelyn Waugh’s Scoop, who was in bed at 11am when Scoop’s (anti)hero Boot visited her. Although she did staying in bed in a very energetic way, simultaneously signing cheques, dictating details of costumes for charity balls, supervising the painting of a mural, checking her daughter’s Virgil translation and completing a cryptic crossword. On reflection, perhaps being like Mrs Stitch is too ambitious.

Now that I no longer have babies who cry for attention at an early hour I need as much help as I can find. I have a few strategies in place (Teasmade by the bed, married a morning person etc) but I know I could probably do a few things to improve my morning sprigginess. So I was interested to see a Wikihow article tweeted by a similarly unlarklike friend this week with a number of useful tips.

The first section of the Wikihow article is called Preparing the Night Before and I was reminded of a couple of golden proverbs I’ve heard from ancient saints. You must say this in a very plummy accent to get them to sound right:

The Battle of the Blankets is won the night before

and

Christians on their way to heaven get to bed before eleven

So I have been trying to win the Battle of the Blankets by getting to bed at least at a time which still features the word eleven. And I’ve been ensuring that getting up is slightly more enticing as an activity. The best thing for me this week in terms of improving my ability to rise from my stupor has been tidying up the post Christmas debris alongside the bed. The attractiveness of getting up surprisingly increases in inverse proportion to the likelihood of skewering my foot on something spikey on the way out.

And I’ve printed out Do the Next Thing to read in my devotional time, to remind me that the Next Thing is to get up. The first line is helpful here:

Do it immediately…

So now I’m off to win that Battle of the Blankets. Once I’ve posted this and talked to the Vicar, and maybe noodled about on the internet for a bit. Still aiming for bed before eleven. Ish.

Read Full Post »

The Engineer is in Year 6 and his class does this ace thing every morning: 20-30 minutes of silent reading before the register. As I reflected on 2015 and my plans for this year, I was struck that I’d not read much other than detective fiction last year. Of course, good fiction is a great thing and I find it very helpful for relaxation. But I thought that I might have not had my reading balance quite right. And I wondered whether I needed to do some silent reading of my own.

And then I came across Canadian blogger Tim Challies’ 2016 Reading Challenge. And THEN some clergy wives in a Facebook group I’m a member of started asking if anyone was doing the challenge.

So I’m going to have a go with Challies’ list. Being realistic, I’m going to try out the challenge for a Light Reader – 13 books over the year. And then if I manage them more quickly than I expect, I’ll move to the next level. So it means that I’m going to try and read the following:

  • A book about Christian living
  • A biography
  • A classic novel
  • A book someone tells you ‘changed my life’
  • A commentary on a book of the Bible
  • A book about theology
  • A book with the word ‘gospel’ in the title
  • A book your pastor recommends
  • A book more than 100 years old
  • A book for children
  • A mystery or detective novel
  • A book published in 2016
  • A book about a current issue

I’ve got a few already about the house (am already reading a detective novel, of course, and am using a commentary in my devotions) but I’d love any recommendations you could make in these categories. Particularly a book that changed your life. And I’m going to see if I can manage some silent reading most days. Join me?

web-2016-reading-challenge-red

Tim Challies’ Reading Challenge – the Big List

Read Full Post »

The turn of the year brings suggestions of bible reading plans, especially whole bible plans, all over social media. I’ve tried a bunch and usually fail to complete them. But as I take a more eclectic approach to my bible reading this year (I’m with Warren Wiersbe in Matthew at the moment), I’m going to keep track with this chart from Visual Unit – and maybe ensure that as 2016 progresses I read some books of the bible that I have neglected in recent years.

bible_reading_chart

Read Full Post »

Happy New Year!

I am not great at New Year’s resolutions – holidays are such a terrible time for making me unrealistic about my capacity to be Wonder Woman. But over the last few days I have done some reflecting on 2015, and thinking and praying about the year ahead. And actually, I’ve been mulling this over for a while and am hoping that this blogpost will help make my plan more concrete and that this year I will learn to focus better on working one task at a time (and not procrastinating). I found myself very distracted in 2015 [edited to not be a time traveller] and, as a result, not accomplishing what I wanted to. And even more than usual. (Sorry about the complete lack of Christmas cards everyone…).

So this year I am planning to Do The Next Thing, with prayer, trusting God for the results.

Do the next thing visual

I came across this poem more than a year ago on a poster sold by 52home, and I think it sums up the attitude I want to cultivate. The poster on 52Home says that the author of the poem is anonymous but further research (a bit of googling, let’s be honest) turned up the original author. It’s not Elisabeth Elliot, who quoted it and is cited as the author by some online. The poem is actually a verse of a somewhat sentimental longer original which has rather ‘ye olde worlde’ spelling. It is quoted in a book called Ye Nexte Thynge by Eleanor Amerman Sutphen. The book was published in the US in 1897, and the poem was written by Mrs George A Paull – actually Minnie E Paull (nee Kenney), an author of ‘serial stories’. Minnie was a musician and minister’s wife as well as a writer, and some of her biography is available online.

Read Full Post »

The blog hits from searches on Halloween have begun. So here is my annual pointer to some good ways for Christians to redeem Halloween without drowning in a sea of witch masks and ghoul costumes. This is a great time of year to bless our neighbours and reach out with the good news of the light that Christ brings to our dark world.

One popular activity in many churches is to hold an alternative party. We’re making our Messy Church next week a Light Party. This year Scripture Union sent us a magazine with some excellent ideas for games and activities that we have used. They have free packs and downloads available. We found last year that a light party held on Halloween itself isn’t so popular as people are off to other parties so that’s why we’re holding ours before half term. The next door parish are holding one on 31st October, though, so we’ll encourage any parents who do want an alternative to go along to that. We are wondering if we still have time to get kids a Bag of Hope from UCB. But if your party is in half term, you should be fine.

Here in the Vicarage we’re stocking up on tracts (try 10ofThose or The Good Book Company) and sweeties to give to Trick or Treaters. And we’re planning our pumpkin carving. Dreamer is holding some afternoon drop in activities in the church hall over half term and plans pumpkin carving as an option. Last year we carved ‘Light of the World’ on ours, inspired by a gallery of other people’s pumpkins I posted a few years back. The excellent cartoonist Crimperman has some other ideas for pumpkins, in case you end up with too many. I have found from bitter – and tasteless – experience that supermarket Halloween pumpkins are utterly hopeless for roasting or making into soup or anything really useful.

Pumpkin cartoon

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: