Tuesday, 21 January 2014

The ordinary story

We can't deny we love the wow factor, the extreme stories, those radical changes in life. But what has happened to the ordinary story? Has the ordinary stories of Jesus at work in the everyday life escaped our notice? It has mine! We are faced with radical stories that shock in the media, Hollywood presents us with these emotional happy endings and we are always exasperated by the extreme or excitedly ready to burst with the tales of life. Jesus' wasn't just an ordinary guy, he did incredible things both big and small and still does today and do we notice them?

I have grown in the joy of cake baking, particularly in the last few years, it's how I relax and what I love to do for other people. My cake enjoyment has been noticed and recently I have gained to a job - making wedding cakes as presents for friends. I had been commissioned to make a 3 tier wedding cake for a friend in July and she requested a butterfly decoration. Now I was fully aware that I was going to need to buy some cutters to help me make these butterflies and I remember saying to God please don't let me leave getting them too late! I then of course put it to the back of my mind and got on with life. In the May before the wedding I went to another friends wedding where I made some little cakes for after the service. I had thought nothing of it really, looked at it as a present to the bride and groom. But a couple of weeks later I received a present from the brides mum a set of three different sized butterfly cutters. A coincidence? I don't think so...



There was October 2012, it was our annual alternative Halloween party. I had decided to change it a bit and instead of it being just for children I made it for all ages, asked people to sign up and waited. I had about 30 people sign up. So being optimistic I had about 40 baked potatoes placed in the oven for consumption. It came to the party and at the start time there wasn't really anyone there but gradually as the evening went on the hall filled and filled until a little bit of panic set in and a head count was needed. Hmm, I think if I remember rightly there was 97 people! Quite a few more that 30. I ran to the kitchen prayed for the content of the oven, sent a few friends to the shops for some bread to bulk things out, got everyone to sit down and started serving. The potatoes just kept coming out of the oven and even after everyone had had one there was some left - remind you of a story you've heard before?

There was a Sunday of a church family meal which was a bit manic, when I went to the hall in the early hours of the morning after waking up feeling a little uneasy about the meal only to find there was no electric - and I still had the soup for 200 people to liquidise. I sat in the hall a little unsure what to do and decided all I could do was pray 'help me'. I then got up and drove a car back and forward between my house and the hall with soup and it got liquidised. That isn't the 'cool' bit, this is. I was leading the service and just explained that I had an interesting morning but God had helped me through it and if anyone wanted to know what had happened they could ask me at the end. Only one person came to ask me at the end, someone who I think might still be exploring faith and he asked me what had happened. His job is as an electrician and as soon as I'd finished explaining he offered to go and fix the electric and he did.

I do love clothes and sometimes I feel it is important to choose what to wear before you arrive at busy days especially. I had decided weeks before a new Easter event that we were doing that I was going to wear my yellow dress. Now it was going to be a long day as I was in school in the morning so I needed to be prepared. Now just a little background, there had been a sad death of a child in the school that I was going to and I wasn't aware that that morning they were going to hold a little service for the child in school. I arrive at school to be greeted with 'who told you?'. I was a little confused but it turned out that the whole school were wearing yellow because it was the child's favourite colour and I was so relieved to be able to sit there through the service and feel like I was actually supporting them - thank you God!

I've been really challenged to look for God's care of me even in the little things. I challenge you to look and sometimes when you look and ask you see lots of little extrordinary things happening in the normal!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

So what do you think?

So before you watch, just want to make a couple of comments...

There is bad language in it. If your a Christian it might make you a bit cross but see it through and then think about some of the questions below (not necessarily them all)...



Ricky Gervais said he believed this till he was eight. What do you think changed his mind at eight?

What do you think about the fact that he still owns the book?

What things that he said did you disagree with and why?

What did you agree with and why?

How important or relevant is it that we communicate the truth of God to children?

How does the following film make you think after seeing the first?




Just to help us reflect on what we do and why!

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Mothering Sunday or Mothers day?

A few months later and I am still trying to get it, am I miss educated in my thinking? I am not wanting everyone to agree with me and think the same as me I just want to understand what I think and why I think it.

So lets look at the facts: Mothers day
Originated in the United States and started in about 1870 and is linked with a social activist called Julia Ward Howe. Unfortunately Howe did not manage to establish the 'holiday' enough and it petered out. It wasn't until 1908 when Anna Jarvis finally managed to cemented into the American calender. It became so popular that the president made it a public holiday and eventually it was renamed 'Hallmark holiday'. Unfortunately Jarvis began to regret what she had created when it became over commercialised. On a positive note Mothers day in the USA sees the biggest attendance to church after Christmas, biggest sales of gifts and the biggest holiday for long distance phone calls.

Mothering Sunday
When Mothering Sunday originated is unclear but it is talked about in the 16th century. The churches would hold a service on a particular Sunday between Christmas and Easter. It was seen as a weekend or day when servants could go and visit their families and spend time together. They would often do things together as a church. It was very much about togetherness not one individual.

Now don't get me wrong I love my mum and she will get a card, but what I like about the concept of Mothering Sunday is that it's about all-ages, no boundaries, it doesn't have to even be about family. No one needs to feel left out or under valued because of their status in a family.

Also mothering seems to be like a role for any person (even perhaps men) and is not dependant on whether you've physically had a baby. I have known some great people who have had mothering roles and not had their own children. Surely these people are important to recognise? Especially as they may be overlooked.

So now the day is almost upon us British again. What do you think?


My lovely mum

Facts from: Wikipedia and BBC

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Church.

It's sometimes hard to define what church is because as soon as you shape one view another idea comes along and makes you question what church is once again. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, in fact it's brilliant because if we don't reflect on our shaped opinions they could become stayed and stale opinions and we don't want that.

So after a week at college learning about the emerging church and fresh expressions I was thinking about church when I came across this video which I think expresses church really well. Let's keep God at the heart.


Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Young people, mission and Wales?!

Dangerously been thinking! So I am writing my dissertation for my MA on Mission to young people in Wales (specifically Anglican and St David's diocese). At the moment I am excited by the prospect of unpacking some findings but trying to prepare myself for a reality check.

I have grown to love Wales dearly, the sound of rain on the roof of my house, the smell of the sea, the sight of rolling hills that stretch to the ocean. The feel of the wild wind blowing in your hair and the taste of fish an chips on the prom. But it's more than sentimental mush and I can't even believe I am publicly admitting this. But this place has an endearing quality, a helplessness and a need.

So lets get down to what I am trying to say. There are some harrowing statistics that say that only 1% of young people have contact with the church in this diocese. We try and make excuses and avoid the harsh truth, but it's there on paper. The church is loosing touch? I just don't know. Has our negativity towards the church brought about a demise - a self fulfilling prophecy? Have we blinded ourselves to the positive things that are going on? Has increased demands on our lives and finances sucked us so dry that we have nothing left to give?

2 Samuel 16

Lets face it David had some rough times, he'd been anointed king whilst still a teenager and had since then been running from a crazy king who swung between being threatened by him, to liking him, to genuinely wanting him dead. The Israelite people have been up and down in their relationship with God and David has just been leading a rabble of bandits. Finally he is there, he's made it to the throne, probably totally drained wondering how to start leading a people that have been at war. And what does he do? He strips back to basics literally. He knows that Jerusalem needs it's God back. Firstly he arranges for the Ark of the covenant to be brought back home. Yes there was a slight blip in the middle but a reminder of God's holiness, which should not be forgotten. He knew it was needed as a focal point for the nation and he was not going to shy away from it's importance, so off he goes in his underwear to meet it as it arrives at the city. Making a fool of himself? Probably, but surely what he is saying in the act is more important. I am not totally sure - but correct me if I am wrong - that king David knew how he was going to sort out the mess that was facing him and he  knew he needed God. He was aware of his own failings and need for humility before a Holy God. And there he was, up there dancing away, not dressed in finery but before God as he was.

So what can it teach us? Well perhaps I want to say this is what this teaches me and reminds me is that things are disheartening and uncertain, yet God needs to be my focal point. I am just a normal person who knows little about what I approach, and I need to remain in that mindset of the actual focus; the glory of God. And how much more with the knowledge and evidence of Jesus should I recognise this in my questioning?

It's only a dissertation I hear you say, yes it is! Yet I can't help but fear the getting lost in decay or hyped up in new prospects that if anyone did ever read it it could impact not only their attitude towards the Church but God himself. In fact everything we do is like that, our writing dissertations, going to work, our driving, our socialising. So somehow as we live our lives for God we need to be continuing to look for ways to reflect His Glory.


Saturday, 17 November 2012

My Grandad treasure trove

Today my dearly loved grandad passed away at the age of 94, what an incredible man! I may not blog very much but I think he deserves a moment of fame although I by no means do him justice.

My Grandad treasure trove

Of secret sheds

Slowly turning the key
To the forbidden shed
Opening carefully
Nose met by scent of creosote
Eyes meet dimly lit cavern of trinkets
Of coffee jars ingenuously remodelled as storage
Tools for everything
This workshop has seen it all
Wheelbarrows for flowers
Cots for Dolls
And so much more

Of RAF man
And Fridge freezers

A man of respect and hidden genius
I'm sure he invented the freezer!
Stories of ice cream
And holidays in vans
Of uniforms
and planes of royal air force blue


My Granddad treasure trove

Of secret sheds
And a committed gardener

Of Ford fiestas
And copper coins

Of RAF man
And Fridge freezers

My Grandad treasure trove
Of a Gentle man
And a quite spirit
Of a person who loved
And showed genuine interest
Of a hand ready to hold
And an ear ready to listen
Of an example of commitment
And a man who deserved respect

My Grandad treasure trove
Of a man whom I loved greatly
And a man I will miss



Grandad and Grandma at their 70th wedding anniversary January 2011



Granddad and Grandma on their wedding day January 1941




Sunday, 25 December 2011