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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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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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If you’re like me, you probably have one or two (= about a hundred) things left to do to prepare for Christmas. Here in the Vicarage, we have been reading a few of the Jesse Tree readings at teatime but have so far failed to actually get a suitable twig to hang the decorations from. We’ve been pulling the decorations from their tin as we read. And then popping them back, saying ‘We must get a twig to hang these from’. And failing. Are things a bit upside down in your house too? Maybe you even have a few (all the?) pressies still left to buy. Or you need some encouragement in the final flapping. So, in a spirit of festive helpfulness, I have six paper copies of The Ministry of a Messy House to give away in time for Christmas.

Tell me below the latest you’ve been up wrapping on Christmas Eve in the comment box below and on Sunday evening I’ll draw six names out and post your book out first thing next Monday.

MMH IVP marketing tweet

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This morning I clicked through to read the Advent thought from my publisher. And guess whose book it came from? Happy First Monday of Advent everyone!

 

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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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If you follow my tweets or Facebook page, you’ll know that the Vicarage has been without phones or internet since Sunday. I was told by BT (eventually, after I badgered them for about three days on Twitter) that ‘2000 pairs in a cabinet in the local exchange’ have broken. No, I have no idea what that means either. I do know that some (but not all) of my neighbours, including vulnerable elderly housebound people and shopekeepers who rely on a phoneline to offer card payment options for customers, have also been without telephone or broadband since then too.

offlineI can still access my emails, Twitter and Facebook on my mobile phone, but it’s quite a pain to use so I’ve not been very active online. Thankfully, the church office still has phones and internet, so the Vicar has been able to work and I’ve been able to sneak in a couple of times to use them, although today I’m writing this in Tesco’s caff in the tow-un. It has upset my mode of writing, which is very bitsy – I tend to write a bit, do a spot of washing up, pick up some mess, prep some soup and then come back to finish a blog post. So hence my general disconnectedness. The washing up and soup prep need to be done more than blogging and social media so I’ve stayed home and been offline.

It also means I’ve not yet closed the competition for the e-book. But I will do that next week, when the kids are off school and everything is a bit less all over the place. Shall we say last thing Sunday evening for entries?

And don’t forget I’m going to be at CLC Birmingham tomorrow with a big stash of copies of The Ministry of a Messy House. I’d love to meet any blog readers who are in the city. Come and say ‘Hi’!

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MMH IVP marketing tweetThe Ministry of a Messy House is officially published today. And some people have even started reading it. A few have said they have enjoyed it, which is lovely. I have been praying that the book will be a blessing to readers. But I also want to say that’s it’s okay if you don’t love it with your whole heart.

It’s a bit weird writing a book and realising that it might not be for everyone. And that some people might even hate it or think it heretical or boring. But since I wrote about God’s grace and providence in the book, I can remind myself that his grace is sufficient for me and although I’d love everyone to think my book is the greatest thing evah, it’s okay if they don’t. So don’t be embarrassed if you read it and find it’s not for you. We can still be friends.

You can buy it in lots of places – including here on this blog. And today I’m linking to my special magic author discounts at my publisher’s: 40% off the print copy and 50% off the e-book.

I have been given a few author copies too. I’m afraid that I’ve already allocated the print ones, but I have a couple of e-books to give away. Tell me about the messiest part of your house in the comments and I’ll pick two at random to send you the link to the book. Sadly this isn’t available if you’re in North America – although IVP will be providing an alternative in the near future for anyone in the US or Canada who would like to read it.

I am also doing a proper author-type book signing on Saturday 26th October. I shall be at CLC Bookshop in Birmingham from 11am-2pm, under the Pallisades, just next to the entrance to New Street Station. I shall bring some Can Do Cookies (the recipe is in the book) and my best pen. Do come and say hello if you’re in the city.

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