Saturday, March 30, 2013

Tell me a story

Here we are at the end of Lent.

It certainly doesn't seem late enough in the year to be Easter, but that's partly because it is rather early and partly because the weather's colder than it was in January. I've been able to get into the garden today but only because it's been dry and, as 7 year old A says, if you work hard you'll get warm.

The LLLL task is to share the Easter story, and the suggested method is by giving someone an Easter card.

I HAVE posted Easter cards to a few people. I've received two lovely ones in return. However I'm not sure that, lovely though they all are, the cards really do much to tell the Easter story. After all, the real cross didn't have flowers round it and I'm not sure there are any bunnies in Jerusalem.

So here's a real Easter Message, courtesy of Kathryn.

And here are some cute little bunnies just because

Friday, March 29, 2013

A regular churchgoer

One Sunday morning I got caught. My husband set out for his church wishing me well in attending mine. It started to snow so he turned back and found me, not singing Anglican hymns in the pews, but enjoying an internet debate in my pyjamas. He wasn't best pleased and accused me of not going to church any more.

I DO go to church. I sometimes go on a Sunday if I can get dressed on time and there isn't some frightfully important thing to do on line. I'd rather stay in my PJs but although our congregation were very accepting of 4 year old A's decision to wear her penguin PJs to church every Sunday and hardly batted an eye-lid when her older sister wore a Minnie-Mouse onesie to Midnight Mass I think they might draw the line at my Peacocks fleecy jammies. When I do drag my clothes on and go I usually enjoy the service and really appreciate the music but my concentration span ain't what it used to be (probably all that internet time) and I don't always manage to concentrate on ALL of the service.

Thursdays are different. Thursdays are a Holy Day of Obligation. Maundy Thursday is the Holiest of days and particularly significant and wonderful for always being a Thursday.

Yesterday was special even as Maundy Thursdays go. It started with the customary foot washing. As usual most of the toddlers while fascinated by the water were reluctant to take their own shoes off. Rather specially though one two year old did it, and washed my feet and tried to encourage his twin to join in. The toddlers then baked bread to take home and break with their families.

After lunch with a friend I collected the god-children and went to the Catholic church hall for the local passion play. I'll admit, I expected it to be pretty dire. A, who is now all of 7, expected it to be a pantomime with a Dame and dancing and lots of jokes. We were both wrong. It was serious. I was glad that A has a wobbly tooth to keep her occupied in the quietest bits and very proud of the lot of them for being so good through what was a long, serious and very moving play. It DID contain the usual suspects from the local am-dram set playing the usual parts but it also featured some of the god-children's young friends including a girl with learning disabilities who performed her lines quite magnificently, a youngster who was too unwell to attend school at 11 but featured as the first convert at 13 and a Christ figure who was "chunky", Welsh and absolutely excellent. It managed, for me at least, to pull off the almost impossible - to retell the same old stories, including the parable of the Good Samaritan adapted for modern times, which is usually enough to send any churchgoer to sleep, movingly and memorably.

After the play we repaired home and shared a non-Passover meal. It WASN'T a weak and mocking attempt at being Jewish. It was a fun and Holy and very often irreverent meal with friends complete with prayer and wine and, when the children were hopefully not listening, quite a bit of Tom Lehrer 

The other special thing about Maundy Thursday is that, unlike other Thursdays, it isn't followed by a day at work, it's followed by Good Friday.

My Love Life Live Lent task today is to think about the Good Friday story and I'm going to do that as part of the Church on our village's walk of witness, but first I had better get off t'Internet and change out of my PJs if only because it's going to be a very cold one.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

I give up...

Yesterday's task was to "be more imaginative, find out what someone has given up for Lent and then buy it for them for Easter"

I really can't see what's immaginative about that. Or practical.

One of my bosses gave up meat for Holy Week, but I'm sure she wouldn't thank me for buying her a ham sandwich for Easter. My husband has given up meat and milk and I WILL buy him some of both for his Easter, but since that isn't until May I have plenty of time to find a bargain Easter egg or a good value piece of beef. I don't know what anyone else gave up. I suppose I could try to find out but that wouldn't be imaginative it would be intrusive and unwelcome.

So all I did yesterday was to give anyone who might be reading this blog the gift of a day off - consider yourselves blessed!

Today's talk is easier - to buy some flowers for someone. So far the morning is lovely and the sun is shining, so I will be able to pick or buy some flowers for my neighbour, and I will get some for me too.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Repeat after me....

today I'm supposed to learn something off by heart.

Love Life Live Lent doesn't actually specify what but I suspect they don't mean the NICE guidelines on eating disorders so that I can recite them backwards as a party trick so I think I'm going to try to learn the words of this so that I can sing it even when I've forgotten my reading glasses and lost the hymn sheet as I usually do in Church.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I'm supposed to encourage others today, and I don't suppose encouraging my husband to put the bin out or my daughter to clean the bathroom count. My online activism might be thought more "rabble rousing" than encouragement, if only I could work out what exactly we should all be being encouraged to do.

A dictionary definition of encourage is to
  1. Give support, confidence, or hope to (someone): "encouraging results"; "I feel encouraged".
  2. Give support and advice to (someone) to do or continue something: "pupils are encouraged to be creative"
Looking back over my day, while I may have tried to give this in more spiritual or emotional ways I think the most encouraging thing I've probably done today is to organise the payroll early so that people get paid before Easter. It would certainly be most DIScouraging for us all if we weren't paid, so that will have to do. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013


Today I am supposed to live more simply by finding a thing I don't use and giving it away.

I tried to give away a slightly soiled senior professional but no one wanted him, and to be fair, he's really rather needed where he is. I don't NEED the cats, but I like them, despite one of them waking me up in the night by throwing up on the carpet.

So today has been a bit of a failure on the LLLL front really although I do learn via Twitter that the Archbishop of Canterbury went shoe shopping, so presumably gained some material goods rather than giving any away, today so I'm in good company.

Friday, March 22, 2013

O Lord Hear My Prayer

today I have to list 5 people I met today and pray for them. I will, but I'll pray for those who love them and those who are like them too

Lord send your blessings on R the tramp who sleeps under the carport at work. You really would have to be on a lot of heroin to be able to stand sleeping outside on a night like tonight and he probably is but he must have had a mother once, maybe brothers and sisters, he has "friends" who inject drugs with him and landowners who try to discourage him from sleeping and messing in their carport but put up with him anyway. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on P, and all my other colleagues at work. It's been a hard few weeks. We're struggling to provide a good service to sick and vulnerable people, and demanding people, and people who don't appreciate how difficult it is to work within the constraints of budgets and regulations, and people who do, and people who care about the service and want to protect it and people who don't. We are doing our best and our best isn't always good enough. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on N, and all my other friends in cyber-land who are frightened or angry or confused or depressed. Bless them, their loved ones who are cared for by them or who in turn care for them. Bless the people they have been hurt by, the people they despise, the people they rely on, the people they admire. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on K, my priest. When I go to the Orthodox Church I am unable to fill in the prayer sheets as one is supposed to complete them in a particular order with one's priest at the top and the poor dears can't get used to the idea of a female name at the beginning of the list. Send your blessings on them as well, and the Pope, and the ABofC and all in leadership roles in the Church and the world. Lord Hear My Prayer

Lord send your blessings on Z and all of the rest of my family. Z has a scary medical appointment at a (relatively) ungodly hour tomorrow, her father has a lot of church to go to and singing to do in the next couple of weeks, her sister is a long way away from us all, her niece is learning to eat rusks in a foreign land and her mother could probably do with some prayers as well.

Thursday, March 21, 2013


I am required to smile today.

Actually I don't find it very difficult - I tend to grin inanely when confused, grittedly when upset and ferociously when angry, but I don't expect that's the kind of smile I'm supposed to give.

I'm mainly smiling nervously as I wait to see whether my car will pass her second attempt at an MOT, and guiltily as I look on-line for replacements should she not.

If she does, I'll buy her a new sticker

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A triad of blessings

Today's given task is to: BE MORE THOUGHTFUL Think about what might make someone happy, then do it!

I read the task before I went out to work, I planned what I was going to do (which involved pension schemes, not guaranteed to make everyone happy, but a good idea for one particular colleague) and failed to get time to do it.

Instead the person being made very happy by the thoughtfullness and understanding of others was me.

 The last person to show understanding and to earn my gratitude was very keen on triangles, and it's true that good things often come in threes, so I'll start with number 1.

At the top of my understanding triangle is my friend Bev Mattocks. I am 3/4 of the way through her book and it is simply brilliant. Although excellently written it makes for hard reading. It's not an easy story, but it's one that is SO familiar. Anyone can (and the newspapers often do) put up a few pictures of emaciated people and say they are writing about eating disorders. There are plenty of first person memoirs by sufferers available, some inspiring, some saccharine sweet, some far too graphic for my tastes. Professionals have written general descriptions from the dry and medical to the flowery and fanciful. But I have never read a better book for describing what it is like to watch helplessly as a loved one is taken over by the beast that is an eating disorder. It isn't just the food. It's the spending hours persuading, cajoling and physically transporting the person to school only to be rung up half an hour later to be asked to take them home again. It's the waiting expectantly, almost excitedly for an appointment only to come out after it wondering if anything has happened at all. It's the awful times of false hope followed by crushing disappointment. It's the guilt, the shame, the hope, the burning love for the person who is hurting so much but just cannot accept your help even if you do have a clue what might be of help.  The book may be too upsetting for some sufferers and their families but it should be compulsory reading for anyone working within the field just to give them SOME idea of what it is really like while waiting on the waiting list and in between the 50 minutes a fortnight therapy sessions.

The second angel of comfort was a medical student. I am ALWAYS comforted by the medical students I meet at work. Every single one of them has in some way or another given me hope for the future of the NHS. This one is extra-special in as much as she has given me hope for the future of those bits of the NHS I care about particularly passionately.

The third was the lady with the triangles - lots of triangles. You probably have actually to be there to fully appreciate Olga Bogdashina Her books may be excellent and I'm definitely going to give one or two of them a go, but her public speaking is superb. As she promised, within two minutes we'd forgotten that her accent is thick and were attuned both to how she was speaking and what she was saying. She presented so clearly and with so much understanding the barriers that may occur between parent and child, between parent and professional who all need to work together but who all have such difficulty understanding each other.  O for the day when a speaker can talk to a mixed group of carers, patients (for want of a better word) and professionals about eating disorders in such a genuinely collaborative and understanding way.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You're welcome....

"Be more welcoming, invite someone you don't know very well round for tea"

Hmmm - I didn't read this until 8pm so too late for today, but really?

Could be awkward

Could be bloomin horrible for the person who we don't know

but why?

Just being IN to make tea rather than my coming in late, and having enough food to share however many, or few, at the table, and being confident that it would really be all OK would be a challenge. Then again just because the Love Life Live Lent booklet comes in pastel colours and a handy format doesn't mean Lent isn't supposed to be challenging. Time to make some changes so that this might be a possibility.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Five Minutes Peace

Was all I had to do today for Lent - spend five minutes sitting still listening to my own breathing.

Unlike Mrs Large in the children's book, I don't have children pestering me every minute of the day, and there were quite a few times when I could have chosen to take my five minutes, but I did have to find a quiet spot. I found the ideal one - my dear old car which also doubles as a playroom, a performance venue, a racing car simulator, a teaching aid, a classroom and a place for live worship - and that's just for the god-children when it's standing still outside the house. She goes in for her second chance at an MOT on Thursday - if she doesn't pass she is going to be very sorely missed.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

another swapping day

The task today is to make a cake to share with friends, but we'd already planned to do that tomorrow so today has been a day off Love Life Live Lent to do an Easter activity because every Sunday is a little Easter. The Easter-tide activity of the day has been spring cleaning, which isn't exactly holy, or relaxing, but needed doing.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Power of Positive Thinking

I've had a couple of occasions today to remember my husband's comment on CBT, most particularly on this book. 

It's ironic really, in a week where my irony levels have already been dangerously high, that once was when a friend wondered on the basis of good evidence whether it would be a good match, and the other was when another friend declared that it definitely was.

His summary? "750 pages of pull-yourself together".

He's not a fan. I can see why and if ordinary, sit down and make a list and work out where your errors are so that you can counteract them CBT wasn't bad enough , there's CBT-E where you sit down and make a list of what you've eaten and how bad you feel about it and are able to challenge those feelings, or not!

So, evidence-based and everything else, if lists of negatives aren't for me yet, and may never be for mine, what about a nice little list of positive things.

Todays challenge is to THINK MORE POSITIVELY Make a list of the good things in your life and thank God for them.

It could be twee. It could be  truly revolting. It could be a very short list. But I'm going to give it a go and make it into something I like.
 Wordle: Untitled

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Slow Down, Not So Fast

A truly sensible one today I think - slow down, take more time. I can't take more time over breakfast because I'd already eaten it by the time I read the task but I will try to take more time over other day to day tasks and do them more thoughtfully.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Time to torture the family?

Today's challenge to ask someone how they are and then really listen sounds very worthy, very suitable, very kind. I do have a problem with it though. Being asked "how are you?" might just about be OK, but demanding an answer long enough to really listen carefully to might be, to my alexithymic lot, about as welcome as asking them to sit on hot coals.

I could have done it at work but we really wouldn't have had time to talk and listen because, well, we were at work.

 So I'm going to sort of cheat again. I'll ask the question of my nearest and dearest but I won't expect anything in return. While I'm waiting I'll be listening to what people think of the new Pope.

I have listened to my dear daughter's comments on the subject already, and I take them on board. They are not a surprise to me and I know what she means. It's probably going to be quite a time before we get the first openly lesbian pope and much of the anger that many feel about him (and would feel about any likely candidate) is justified. On the other hand I'd also like to listen to the opinions of Catholics living their faith and making it work day to day.

An interesting day.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Happy Birthday to You

Today's task is to take care of friends by remembering their birthdays.

I could add lots of birthdays to my outlook calendar, or join one of the facebook groups that sends out reminders but I'm not that trustful of technology to keep things for more than a year, and since most of my friends only have one birthday a year and I may already have missed it, I'm going to hoik out my elderly birthday book from the desk and start updating it.

It's my mother's birthday on Good Friday, and also that of an old friend, so I know I already have some cards to buy. On the other hand I WILL forget some important occasions so PLEASE don't feel offended if one of them is yours.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I'm going to have to defer on this one

Today's task is to save water.

I really can't think of a way that I can do that today. If I decline to do the washing today it'll just get done tomorrow. Likewise the washing up. It is so piercingly cold that I haven't felt like looking out at the garden let alone saving some of the ice in it. I think all I can do now is seriously investigate the possibility of an extra one of these - but I'm not going to buy one until there's a possibility that installing one won't result in frostbite.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

days merging together

The horrible, nasty, bitter cow of which there is at least as much in me as there is horse in a Tesco burger, says that I swapped today's Love Life Live Lent task and did it yesterday.

Today's task is to "Think of others, do a job that others normally do".

Yesterday I was supposed to "have more fun, play a game" but having come over all peculiar at work I came home and played the game of lying down in a darkened room all evening, which is usually done by others (yes, yes, because they usually need to and I'm fortunately usually healthy so don't) in our house.

I WILL try to do a job normally done by others - going to volunteer to do some of the extra deliveries a friend has landed herself with. If I make up a story or try not to walk on the cracks while I'm doing it hopefully it will count as a game and I'll have done yesterday's task today.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

easy peasey

today's task to listen to some beautiful music - thanks to Goodinparts I have a piece a day to make my way through.

I have tried to copy them here but have failed, so will have to go back to her facebook page and nick them from there.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Love thy neighbour

If the task was literally to speak to my neighbour, as in my next door neighbour or the people across the road then I failed totally. One of those days rushing around from pillar to post talking to lots of people in lots of places but not at home or nearby. Maybe I can try it tomorrow instead.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Open Wide

The suggested tasks for being more open, trying something new seemed quite easy - eat something different, try a new experience.....

Practically, today I have a lot of the same old same old to do. The run up to Orthodox Lent and Spring and the opportunity to clean the freezer has meant that we've been eating what's there which is chicken, and chicken, and more chicken. The end of the financial year means the same scrabble as last, and the one before, and the one before that to get all i's dotted and all t's crossed in the accounts, the data, the reports. As a volunteer I have to write a report for an online magazine that I've written to before, study minutes and papers for a quarterly meeting which, while vital, is going to be similar to last quarter's, and write an account of how we failed at FBT. Now that's new - NOT!!!

It may be possible, it may even be desirable, in the more distant future, to give up some of the same olds and try something really new, but it would be an enormous decision and not one I can make now or on my own.

At the moment I have to try to maintain the balance between hope and dreams for the future and keeping my head above water for now, so I have googled praying for discernment and found that it may or may not mean asking for help with decisions and that this is one of the prayers about it

God our Father,
You have a plan for each one of us,
You hold out to us a future full of hope.

Give us the wisdom of your Spirit
so that we can see the shape
of your plan in the gifts
you have given us,
and in the circumstances
of our daily lives.

Give us the freedom of your Spirit,
to seek you with all our hearts,
and to choose Your Will above all else.
We make this prayer through Christ our Lord.


Trying to actually practice asking for discernment is new, and hard, and sufficiently like going to the dentists for Lent I think. 


Monday, March 04, 2013

Bless this house

TAKE CARE OF YOUR HOME Tidy a room or a cupboard in your house

Not too difficult a task, although which one to start on was initially a question. It was one that was soon answered when youngest daughter told me she would be coming here next week with her baby - so it's the big bedroom that's getting tidied in preparation for their visit. Maybe I'll find some lost treasure too. 

Saturday, March 02, 2013


I have vowed this year NOT to drone on about telephone conversations, even in May when I had my worst ever one, so it's probably fitting that I modify today's task a bit.

I am supposed to "Keep in Touch, phone someone you haven't seen for a while". Well I HAVE seen one of my daughters quite regularly, but can't phone her anyway as she's hopeless at keeping a phone. I haven't seen the other one, but her phone signal is terrible and talking that way is pretty frustrating for both parties. I DID phone my mother-in-law yesterday but she has a sore throat so it wasn't fun for her.

Adapting the task seems like a good idea, and fortunately these days there are a lot of alternatives. I've messaged a couple of lovely friends. I've e-mailed others. I attended a meeting in person and hand delivered some of the resulting literature. And tonight I'm going to sit down with some pretty cards from the local newsagents and WRITE. Using the good old Royal Mail is still a pretty effective way of communicating.

Friday, March 01, 2013

In which I, ever so politely of course, tell LLLL to get knotted

The task for today is to do something different, the suggestion being to have a "screen free day". WHAT? Look here archbishop and whoever, MY FRIENDS LIVE IN THE COMPUTER. If I'd had a screen free day I'd have missed all their birthday wishes, and lively debates, and this

I have done some different things today. I've been given cards and presents and I've had wine with my tea. I wore a smart suit to work mainly because I had it out after wearing it for a service on Wednesday and I've had birthday cakes with blue icing from the godchildren. And now I'm going to read a book which I was given by a good friend, but first I might just spend a little more time on line......