Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tidy Up Time

Today's task to "make your local area cleaner" by filling a bag with litter was obviously meant to mean that I should go outside and pick up rubbish from the street. If it warms up a bit this afternoon I might just do that, but first of all I have quite a bit to tidy on my desk, some minutes from December for a start....when all that is done I might even tidy up the blog posts here that are hanging around unfinished, on the other hand I might not.....

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Present Time

when Love Life Live Lent said that I should give a present to someone it probably meant to a person, but since Parsley the cat started to unravel the hat I was trying to make I knitted him a mouse instead. He doesn't look that impressed but it was fun to make and he may well play with it when he thinks no one is looking.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Making new friends

The LLLL booklets come in assorted varieties suitable for different ages and stages in life. The tweets, which are free and don't involve finding a church that is stocking the booklets, don't. Therefore my instruction today, on the theme of being more friendly, was either to "be friendly with someone new" or "play with someone new". I rather prefer the latter and hope that the couple of new groups of friends I have picked don't mind my joining in their games. As I'm going to watch their play from a distance rather than step in and change it I think we'll do just fine but they seem very friendly indeed and I'm sure if I could join them physically they'd welcome me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Time to say grace

I read today's Love Life Live Lent task too late to say thank you for my breakfast (cereal and banana) or lunch (couscous) so am now going to say grace before sitting down to fish and chips for tea.

Food! It's sometimes difficult to "consider the lilies" and not worry about it, reflect and not take it for granted, or avoid putting meanings onto it that really aren't there. Best to just say  thank you for it.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Look here

when I read the task today I thought it would be lovely - what nicer than to NOTICE THE WORLD, go for a walk and notice what's round you ?

On a day like today almost anything. It is so flaming cold that I have been out to Asda and noticed the things on the shelves, and at home noticing the dust. I did go out in the garden to put the bin out and noticed that the poor crocuses, peeping out quite beautifully last week, are frozen like the rest of us.

So I'm not going for a walk. I'm huddled up in front of the computer wearing two pairs of warm pyjamas and a pair of bedsocks. I might go and look for a hat soon as well. I shall try though, for the rest of the day to LOOK properly at what I am doing. To concentrate on one screen at a time. To appreciate the pictures and messages on the computer and maybe even remove the dust and look at the wood and carpet and fabric underneath with a fresh and appreciative eye.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Finally the one that I've been waiting for

since Ash Wednesday. The opportunity to say "thank you".

There are a lot of people I'd like to say thank you to, and I've been trying to do it fairly regularly, although I'm sure there are lots of opportunities I've missed too.

For now, I'll say thank you to Leah for some very sound advice , thank you to Kathryn for some beautiful meditations both here and in song posted on facebook, thank you to all who make me smile, whether intentionally or otherwise, and an especially warm thank you to Cynthia who took the time to share good memories of my daughter's childhood with her and with me, just because she wanted to.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

curiouser and curiouser

Today I am supposed to be more curious and to wonder about something.

I am guessing that this doesn't mean read some paper about the same old subject and bang on with the same old ideas, which leaves me with a first question for the day, what should I wonder about?

I will have to keep my eyes and ears open during the day and find something. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tell Laura I Love Her

Well no, I'm going to have to tell her myself.

Today's task "Be More Loving, Tell Someone You Love Them"

 With some people this is easy. Our neighbours and their children are extremely generous people who share their home, their food and their words of love very easily. It is great to be told by 9 year old E that she loves you, and to say it back. It doesn't even come off badly when the words and sentiment are shared with their teenage son.

As a more middle-class, stiff upper-lip Brit, I find the words more difficult, especially with my family.

It is easy for the sentiment to be stilted, qualified, especially if the person I'm speaking to is diffident, unsure, troubled in his/herself.

So my challenge is to say the words to my immediate family. I'll start with the easiest who may be physically furthest away but is no problem, and work through the list. If I manage it with my parents I'll really will have achieved something.

Oh yes, but Laura, I do love you, and Irish I love you too,

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turn that light off!

Today's task is to help save the planet. Apparently I can do that by turning an unused light off. In a house where I am only one of the occupants and we tend to keep to separate rooms this could involve turning the light off on someone else, which doesn't seem fitting for Lent. Therefore I've decided to make things much more difficult for myself and turn an otherwise VERY used computer off. Instead of debating finer points and getting into interesting discussions I'm going to sit and knit that cat toy in the room where my husband already has the light on. Wish the poor man luck.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Be creative - make something

The task today is to create something. At work where my job is to look after the accounts and data "making something" might be thought a little suspect. In campaigning all I am tempted to do today is to make a stink with MP for not attending the Parliamentary Debate on Eating Disorders. Therefore I am going to try to make a hat. I have the wool. I have the needles. I'm not sure about the patience and the time.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Plant a seed

The weather has made the challenge to "Enjoy your world, plant a seed, a very easy task, although I think it probably is too early to plant the sunflower seeds that I bought especially.

I have scattered some wildflower seeds in the "meadow", and planted a bean in a jar in the hope that I will be able to see the roots grow. As an addition I've "planted" the new spider plants growing from my two old ones hoping to be able to use them as bedding plants in the summer. 

Friday, February 15, 2013

Everything's News

Today's LLLL instruction is to watch the news and to choose one item to pray about.

Awkward as ever I don't tend to watch the news but rather to read it on-line, but with a little modification I've managed the task. My e-mail provider attempted to help by telling me what the most popular news items of the day were:

•  Fashion Priest's take on Leather Heaven and Hell
•  Hague to announce human rights programme
•  What's Clegg's Valentine's Day surprise for wife?
• Jobless man sets fire to himself in France
• CCTV shows driver hit woman and toddler

Hmmm, the BBC tell me that a sportsman's private life and the content of "beef" burgers are more likely to be of interest and certainly items one and three on the list above remind me that, in the words of Martyn Joseph, Every Thing's News However I was moved to look at item four, not so much by the sensationalist headline as by the quiet presence of someone with, perhaps, a similar lifestyle. "The Tramp" often sleeps in the car port at work. He was there again tonight. He must be freezing cold but he probably doesn't notice because of the drugs he takes. His task, each night, is to be alive in the morning. I pray that he will be.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be More Giving

is today's challenge for Lent

The suggestion is to give money and I have. It was easy. I texted a number and hey presto (after three attempts at getting the message right) I'd done it. Whew! I can forget about LLLL for another day...

Well of course not. It isn't a licence to give away a little cash and then forget it.

I had to think carefully as to where to give the money. I am not 100% happy about my choice. There are other charities doing the same work  who I could have sponsored just as easily if I'd done exactly what I was told in the LLLL booklet and saved up my spare pennies for the whole of Lent.  As with any donation there is the worry about how much will go on administration (funny how, as a pen pusher in the NHS I don't whinge too much about money meant for bedpans going to data clerks instead) whether it will be money well spent. I have friends who have used the helplines being sponsored who have got very bad advice. There is genuine debate about what constitutes the best or even adequate advice to give, among specialists and parents and even parliamentarians.

I think however that, on balance, I have done more good than harm with my deed and after yesterday's soul searching am certainly not going to waste any more time in saying sorry if I haven't. Instead I have tried to be more giving in praise as well as in money and continue my daily attempt to say thank you to someone. This was made very much easier by, of all people, a Tory MP.  Thank you Mr Newmark for your moving speech in the House of Commons today. I didn't agree with it all. I don't think it will save the world. I do think though that it has done CONSIDERABLY more good than harm.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm so so sorry

I've been prompted to say sorry by the Archbishop of York, so if it goes wrong I can blame him can't I?

You see, for Lent, I've decided once again not to give up chocolate or "The Archers" or go to a serious discussion group where a worthy tome is discussed, but to follow the Love Life Live Lent booklet and do something straightforward and positive each day.

Today's task is to say sorry to someone.

Easy enough and quite fitting for Ash Wednesday you'd think. But I've struggled with it. What should I say sorry for? And HOW?

Together with some friends I have been reading some literature which, among other things, encourages mothers to say sorry to their children. Fair enough you'd think if the things they have done have harmed their children and who hasn't inadvertently done the wrong thing by their child once or twice (a day)? I know that I've done things that have upset my children, and more often failed to do things that might have upset them at the time but would have been good for them in the end. But in doing these foolish things I have NOT caused one of them to become unwell any more than I have caused the other one to become a nurse. I'm not that powerful. To think so would, in the words of the CBT-ites be "personalisation" . If I thought it and wallowed it that would be "expressed emotion" which is also a "bad thing" although the number of people who do wallow has probably been exaggerated. Even if well intentioned and justified, if the apology doesn't come with remedial action then it can be hollow and distressing for the recipient. Badly done, blanket apologies whether you have caused the problem or not can just anger and cause real distress, or at the very least make you look an utter pratt.

So, in the absence of any opportunity to make a grovelling apology, I have said sorry to someone whose birthday I missed, along with belated good wishes, and sorry to someone who I didn't make a cup of tea for and given them a fresh cup.

MUCH more enlightening for me was working out how to acknowledge and accept an apology from someone vulnerable who said sorry to me for a very small mistake. That was when I was able to think and work out how I could start to Love Life and Live Lent.

I wonder if tomorrow's task is to say thank you to someone?