What I see and what I think about it.

Monday, 31 March 2008

Never turn your back on a small child

My girls love "in the Night Garden". So today they sat and watched a bit whilst I went into the garden to hang out the sheets. WHen I came back Martha had CUT Tilly's hair!! There are no words.... so here are the photos! (please remember that Tilly had a cute blond bob style with a longish fringe.)

Friday, 28 March 2008

The beginnings of understanding

On Good Friday I was talking to Martha about what it was all about. We read the story about Jesus dying in her children's bible and talked all about it. Martha was really interested to know everything. And we talked a lot (but not graphically) about a really simple picture of Jesus on the cross. In was in amongst this that she suddenly said: "Mummy, Jesus got pants on so he doesn't stick to the cross!" - Well what can you say to that!?
A bit later on she talked about the soldiers taking Jesus away. She said: "I want to be a parrot, so I can make the soldiers go away." - What can you say to that?! I just hugged her tight. You could feel Jesus smile.

One small step

I haven't written in a while as we are on Easter holidays and Martha is home from school. This means lots of nice outings and fun things... but not much blog time. I am hoping to let you all know what we've been up to soon. But I had a thought today.

Every mother ever (nothing like generalisations) has a thing that she is fixated about. I have a friend who thing is pushchairs that face you so your child can see you. Another who thinks formula is like poisoning your child, another who thinks breastfeeding is a bit weird. One who is obsessed with getting her children to bed on time. Quite a few with very passionate view about squash and amount of television that should be watched.

Today I realised mine.... I am obsessed with my children having correctly fitted shoes. I don't know why. But I truly believe that if they wear shoes that are the wrong size there feet (and therefore everything else) will go horribly wrong. Ok... that is a bit over the top... but not much. I never let my children to wear cast off shoes or secondhand, even each others. I can just see the soft bones in their tiny feet being molded into shapes they were never meant to be. What can I say... it is a sickness and I will try to conquer it eventually. If I don't manage it then at least when they are rebelling and staying out late or refusing to get off the sofa, or going off to university, or eloping, or doing dangerous sports they will be doing it it comfy, well fitted shoes that fit both the length and the width. And hopefully they will know that I love them!

Friday, 21 March 2008

Story - The Father's will - the only way

Based on the events of Jesus on the cross

i lay down on the cross. i had a few beautiful seconds when i could rest.
the walk up the hill had been long and hard.
suddenly the first brutal nail was smashed into my wrist, every nerve in my body screamed.
the weight on my heart became greater: your wrong, your lies, your idolatry, cutting into my flesh, my teeth clenched –

this is my Father’s will … the only way.

my body had just started to cope with the searing pain when the next mail went in, disjointing bones, I could feel the blood oozing out.

this is my Father’s will.

my feet are dragged onto the wooden platform. the knowledge of what is happening doesn’t blunt the pain. every nerve end, every ounce of my body wants to scream for God to release me. but…

this is the only way… my Father’s will.

above my head they hung a sign “King of the Jews” – if only they knew

the cross is being lifted. i slide down it desperately trying to hold my arms up so the nails don’t slice deeper into my flesh
blood from the thorns trickles into my face, i can’t wipe it away
the pain increases
i feel so weak, i have to struggle to stay conscious
at my feet i hear the mocking voices of the guards, the women crying, trying to comfort one another and sobbing uncontrollably
“make them see Father, this is your will. they don’t know what is happening. they want to save me but know that is not the way. they can’t see but they know.”

in the midst of the pain and the heaviness i hear a voice
- Jesus
i drag myself slowly away from the thoughts and actions that are being heaped upon me
- Jesus
My name, the name of power and grace
- Jesus
i turn as much as my weak state will let me. the thorns dig in. blood runs down into my eyes. i try and blink it away
- Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom
he lifted my heart, in the middle of the physical pain and anguish i felt a moment of clarity… someone understands, it is not in vain.
“I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in the paradise”
the words are dry and raspy, they stick in my throat

darkness came over the land. the view of the city below gets covered in a black shroud.
a darkness covers me
one by one everything is heaped upon me, the guilt of the people stacked on my head

i am alone
God has turned his back, his face is turned away
the loneliness consumes me
the final sin is placed upon my head

“Eloi, Eloi lama sabachthani?”
my whole being screamed these words
why God? i need you. i can’t bear the pain
my Father had turned his back and I couldn’t keep the words in any longer

the words rang clear across the shadowed land. i had held onto them as long as possible but they poured forth from my parched lips.

someone held a sponge to my mouth. the liquid burnt against my cracked lips
saliva gathered in my mouth in anticipation. i almost chocked on it.

again my voice cried out
i could not stop it now
i cried out with every atom of me
the unending heavy dragging pain running into sound

this is the only way.

i let go. i couldn’t hold on. my spirit went down and all the sin went with it.

My Father tore the curtain in the temple, from top to bottom, his heart overflowing
the ground shook with His emotion
in the depth of His greatest lose and greatest gain:

“Come my children. I have opened the way. You are free to come into my house, my dwelling place, the Holy of Holies. Sit at my feet and I will be your God. Do not be afraid, the way is now clear. The curtain is torn. I have heaped your wrong on him who was pure. He died so that you can live. Come to me my children. It is finished – come home to me.”

People do come. They see the torn curtain and God’s house behind it. They step over the threshold between death and life.

(If you would like to share this with others please read this. Thank you.)

Thursday, 20 March 2008

Story - We are the ones who slept

Based on Mark 14 v.33-43

If we had know what was about to happen we would have stayed awake.
We would have prayed and watched, comforted and consoled.
But we didn’t understand that that night was to be our last with him amongst us.
Often he had gone to be alone, to be with God, with his thoughts. We didn’t think that this time was any different. He was often full of sorrow.
We can hear his words and see him in the distance, a crumpled figure of a man, looking very alone.. But it is late and sleep crept up on us. Slid over us. The night was warm, like a blanket around us, soothing us. It was so hard to keep our eyes open when the lids were so heavy, dragging us into inevitable, blissful slumber.
It could all wait till tomorrow.
He would explain his sadness tomorrow.
He would give us more strength.

His voice coming ringing through the darkness-
“Are you sleeping?”
It was not angry, just filled with desperation. We tried to answer but he went again.
“Pray that you don’t fall into temptation.”
“Watch with me.”

If we had known we would have watched, we would have prayed. We let him down at the very time he most needed us. The only time he really needed us.
And we failed.
We were the ones who slept. Tumbling down again. The night folding round us again. If we had heard we would not have slept but would have fixed our eyes on him, not taking them off for a single minute. We would have memorised every detail.
In sleep the night moved through till dawn.
“Arise, the hour has come. Here comes my betrayer.”
We had reached the end of a road.
Judas came walking towards us.
We had reached the end of a road and missed the final step.

(If you would like to share this with others please read this. Thank you)

My stories

I have been pondering whether to put some of my stories on this blog and have decided to go for it! A friend said that I should save them up and get them published but to be honest I just want people to read them.

Before they go up I wanted to say that if you like them enough to want to share them with others then you may. But please consider the following 2 things:

1) Please let me know. This is mainly just so I know!
2) Please make it known that it was written by be. Either verbally (if it is being read) or written (if it is in writing).

Having written this it sounds a bit vain. But I wanted to set out the parameters from the start. I can also link future stories here so I don't have to repeat myself.

Most importantly I hope you enjoy them...

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Pondering on facing the way you are going

Today I saw the bible in action. I was walking Martha to school (not late for once!) and I was holding onto her with one hand and Tilly with the other. Tilly kept looking behind her. This meant I was dragging her to school. She couldn't keep up (even though we were not going fast). She nearly fell over more than once and it was just a struggle. Then it struck me that God tells us to press forwards towards the goal. We are told to not look at what is behind but look at what is in front. When we look at what is behind I see God trying to drag us along the path, He is doing His best but we just aren't facing the right way. We fall more easily and more often because we don't see the obvious things at our feet. It is a struggle to walk forwards whilst facing backwards. And it is an unnecessary struggle.

This week is Holy week and it is a time of looking back to Jesus' final week on this earth. His journey to the cross. But I think that God wants to to also use this time to look forward. To what Jesus' sacrifice means to us. How does it change our lives and the way we live them. How loved we really are. With these truths on board we need turn to face the right way, grasp God's hand and run with him. Or we might be late for the adventure He has for us.

Monday, 17 March 2008

7 things

Nathan, who writes one of my favourite blogs, has recently done a post where he has told the world 7 little known things about himself. He then challenged others to the same. So I thought.... that seems like a good idea. So here is my list.

7 things you might not have known about me:

1) I would have been called Phoebe but my dad wanted something that was easier to spell. I never realised it before, but I too feel that names should be easily spelt. It is no fun to be 14 and still not able to spell your own name.

2) I can still touch my nose with my toes. And sit with my heals touching my bot and my knees touching my chest, without holding them there with my hands. (Go on try it!) Granted as Tummy tot takes over I won't be able to, but by mid august the skill will come back!

3) When I can't sleep at night I listen to children's story tapes. My favourite it "Wind in the Willows". It makes my brain stop whirling for long enough to go to sleep.

4) I learnt to play the piano for about 7 years and never took one single exam! I am still below grade 1 standard. I have admitted defeat! I have now married a superb piano player and he plays for me... lovely.

5) I have a overwhelming love for plastic boxes (and other boxes too, come to think of it). I get it from my mother. It is fortunately not a fatal addiction and I am in the stage of rehab where I can go into a shop and not buy yet another box. But it has been a struggle! :-)

6) If I has triple the amount of time and energy on top of being a full time mummy and home maker I would be a photographer and a theatre director. I love capturing things in pictures. Seeing beauty paused and saved. I also love the aliveness and directness that only happens in theatre. You really do create magic.

7) I broke my collarbone as a child. I was standing on a desk and my brother was throwing Velcro (there are over hooky fixes available!) darts at me. I fell off the desk. My mother did not believe me that anything was wrong (now I am mother I would probably react the same way "it isn't bleeding or visable hanging off so you are probably fine!") and only found out when, a few weeks later, took me to the doctors for something totally different!

So there you go... you know a little more about me than you did 10 minutes ago.

Thursday, 13 March 2008

Two good things

Two good things have happened this week (well, more than two really but these are the two I am going to mention!)

Thing one:
i am 20 weeks pregnant today. Which means I am halfway. This is really exciting. Although it is still a while off I am nearer the end than the beginning. I am also feeling the baby move around and it is great to feel lots of little kicks and wriggles. And in a few weeks we will be able to feel the baby from the outside. I can't wait for the girls to feel the baby move. Although we might not get anything done. They already spend far too much time navel gazing (mine, not there own!)

Thing Two:
I have stopped looking fat and now look pregnant! This may not seem a big deal but anyone who has been pregnant will know what I mean. I have got over the "is she chubby/is she pregnant?" look and now have a lovely bump. It has done wonders for my confidence. I really didn't like the chubby look but now I am showing off my new curve at every opportunity!

So there you go. They may not be earth changing things but I am glad of them.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

The moments

As you know I went on retreat a few weeks ago so I thought I would give you an update on how it has changed my life!!

I have tried, since I got back, to read a bit of the bible every day (I normally manage about a chapter). Then I have been doing what Sister J taught us and I take a verse that sticks out and think about it for a while and let it turn over in my mind. The length of time I get to do this really depends on the girls. some days it is just a few minutes but that doesn't matter because it is the next bit that is really important...
During the day I remember that verse. I am learning to find the moments of peace in my day. And in those moments I remember the verse and come back to God. I have discovered that even if they are 30 seconds long those moments are there. I just have to grasp them. It might be while I am making a cup of tea, walking to school, the girls are playing nicely together for a minute, I am on the toilet and not being helped! In a day there are lots of these pockets of time that we don't think about but they add up to a bit and they bring me back to God. To remembering who he is and that he is the one who sustains me.
These moments have brought me peace and strength and are just enough to see me through what life (or the girls) throw at me.

Tummy tot at 19 weeks

Today was the day of tummy tots anomoly scan. This is where they have a really good look at the babyfrom head to toes and check that everything is where it should be and doing what it should be doing. They also do some measurements so check that the baby is growing well. It all went really well and everything is just as it should be. The lady doing the scan was fantastic and told us what she was looing at and what bits were where. It was fastinating and amazing and just really lovely to see this little baby kicking and waving and grabbing her/his toes. At this scan you can also find out the sex (if the baby is in the right place!). But we choose not to. There are too few surprises in life so we (and you) will have to wait another 20 weeks to find that out!

This is the not so good picture. Tummy tot was in a really bad position for photos, all curled up and cosy! The blobs are head on the left (with little hand above) and then body to the right and the end blob (just above the body is a leg. S/he is facing away from you.

This one is a lot better. Head to the right, spine going down to the left and then a bit of leg at the bottom.
If you want to "ooooo" over how much s/he has grown this is the link to the 16 week scan.

Saturday, 8 March 2008

Tilly's birthday - part 2

this is some photos from the last 2 years. Because I find trying to write things in the right place next to photos on blooger really traumatic you will just have to see just pictures. I will make sure they are order though!

Tilly's birthday - part 1

Today is Tilly's 2nd birthday. We have had a lovely day and more importantly Tillys has had a lovely day.
This is first thing in the morning. We always open presents on our bed. We gave Tilly an iron and ironing board. she has been ironing all the washing, including my socks! Mammar and Grandad gave Tilly lots of play balls to go in the paddling pool.
They all went in our bed before they reached the paddling pool.
This is a bit blurred but had to show Tilly ironing on our bed!
These are for those who don't believe that Tilly looks like me...
This is me on my 2nd birthday.

Friday, 7 March 2008

Twinkle, twinkle

In Martha's school they have a system of rewards. Every week one child from each class is "Star of the Week". This is because they have done particularly well at something or have worked hard at something. Well..... you have probably guessed it by now.....


She got to stand up in assembly and everyone clapped her! And it on the weekly newsletter so everyone will see that my little girl is a star. She was made star because she has been consistently sitting really nicely and listening really well. These are two things she finds hard so I am doubly proud of her.

Must dash, I have to email proud grandparents the news letter!

"Under construction"

I am wearing the first ever maternity top I bought today. It is red and has "under construction" written on it with little arrow pointing at the bump. I don't normally like clothes with things written on. I have huge problems finding t-shirts for the girls without stuff written on them. And I will not buy them ones provocative and sexualising things written on. Anyway.... on this occasion I think it fits. Not just that there is a baby slowly and quietly growing away inside me but that I too am under construction. I am not yet a finished product. There is some way to go. On some days there is a long way to go. The good news is that God isn't finished with me yet. He is willing to go the distance. He has a plan for my completion and He will see it through. I find it very comforting to know that although I am far from perfect one day I will be. It will most probably be in heaven, but I will get there. So all this striving and trying to get things right, have the right attitudes, be kind and loving, is not in vain. There is a reason for it all.

I also need to remember this with everyone I meet, be it a stranger or a friend or my husband and children. We are all under construction. We aren't done yet. And we need to help each other, encourage each other in this journey. I need to remember this and have patience and mercy. To remember that I cannot demand perfection from others when I am still on that journey too. Only God can and does demand that we are perfect. And being God He knew we couldn't do it. So He became Jesus and died for our wrongdoing so we could be perfect. He demands the impossible and makes it possible.

So the next time you are cross with me for being an idiot, please read the T-shirt, remember that I am “under construction” and be patient. Thanks.

Thursday, 6 March 2008

Ponderings leading up to Tilly's birthday

I haven't written anything in a while. I have been trying out a new morning routine and I have also had a background cold which has left me really tired So I have only drivel to say! But…

I have been thinking forward a lot to Saturday which is Tilly's 2nd birthday. Martha keeps saying it's her birthday soon and I have tried (and failed) to explain that she has to wait till May!

I have been thinking back over the last two years with Tilly. She changed our lives 2 years ago. She has helped me to grow and change in ways that Martha alone could never do. She has changed Martha too. Martha is very maternal and protective towards Tilly and always wants to help her (even when Tilly wasn't aware of wanting to be helped!) Tilly is such a bundle of joy. Her profile picture is what she is like most of the time.
When I was pregnant I wondered what another girl would be like. Would she be like a small Martha or totally different. And she is so different. I thank God that I just can't compare them, or I might be tempted. For a baby that weighed 8lbs 3oz, Tilly is tiny. She has gained a whole 5lbs in the last year (for those of you who don't know - that is not a lot!) She is still in 9-12month Pj's. She is small and petite. Martha is tall and always has been. I think this makes Tilly seem even smaller! Tilly has a small appetite but lots of energy. She is a light sleeper. She is overwhelming in love with her teddy, Wilbur. She uses him as pillow at night. She is clingy and a little bit shy. She has a small face with big features. Big blue eyes. She loves her Daddy best of all. She is amazing vocally and is using short sentences a lot now. She is beginning to want to use a potty. She has such love and kindness. She wants to help so much and she wants to join in so much. Her tinyness doesn't faze her and she resolutely climbs over and onto everything. She is determined. She loves living and being apart of life. She is joyous.

I must confess that I love this age. Just before the "terrible twos". When children think you are the best person ever. When they trust you so much and don't question everything. I know that children have to grow up and it is my great privilege to guide and teach them so they can face the world with courage in their hearts and a smile on their lips. I am so grateful that Nick and I don't do this alone. We have a great God who fills in the gaps. He gave us this impossible task and he also gives us everything we need in order that we can indeed achieve the impossible.

I know that Tilly won't forever be this little girl (although I don't think she will ever be huge!). She has to grow up. And I look forward to seeing the woman she will become. But I am grateful for now. Right now. Where she is small and still almost a baby. Although, as every mother knows, she will be my baby forever, no matter how big she gets.

Sunday, 2 March 2008

In praise of mothers

I have been blessed with 4 mothers. One biological, one given to me by my parents and two by marriage (my dad’s and my own). They are all very special ladies. I wanted to share a bit about each of them on this day, when mothers everywhere should be sitting with their feet up feeling loved by their children.
I will talk about them in the order I acquired them:

My Mother
Never Mum, often Mummy, sometimes Marmee, mostly Mother. I have put my mother through a lot. As I think all daughters do. But as a baby/child I had a lot of things done to my hips because I had clicky hips (hip joints that aren’t properly formed). I was in hospital a lot. Although I don’t remember this I have a great admiration for whatever my parents did in hospital. I feel like it could have left me one of two ways, with a great fear or a great peace about hospitals. I always feel very peaceful in hospitals, I even like the smell. I think about this now I have my own children and think how practical and no-nonsensey my mother was. It was good. It gave me a very good foundation.
I have always known, with both my parents, that no matter what I did or said they would love me. I grew up knowing that, being surrounded by it. It had a profound impact and is something that I want to pass on to my own children. It made me feel very secure.
My mother is a great support to me now. We spend a lot of time together and she is helpful without intruding. She helps with the girls a lot. I am grateful that she supports me without taking over. Gives advice without moaning (too much!) if I don’t follow it. She lets me be me.
Oscar Wilde said that “all women turn into their mothers, that is their downfall”. When I tell the girls to put their feet down and sit up properly it is my mother’s voice that comes out. It is sometimes scary but also quite comforting that wisdom passes down through women, mother to daughter. I look forward to the day when my girls complain they sound like me and I will say, with a smile on my face, …. “actually you sound like Granny!”

My Godmother
My parents choose this mother for me. And I will be forever grateful. She is an amazing lady who has loved, supported and cared for me for as long as I can remember. My mother once said that a Godparent should be an extra adult who is just yours. That is what my Godmother is for me. I have always felt very special to her. She is overwhelmingly caring. Even though we don’t see each other as much as I would like I know that she is always there for me. She has helped me through some difficult things and I hope that she knows just how much she has helped me. When I think of her home it is always a place of comfort and welcome. There is always a magazine for you to read, a blanket to put over you on the sofa, a cup of tea and a friendly chat. What more can I say. She is a super lady.

My Step Mother
When my father re-married I gained a stepmother. This could have been a really trying and difficult experience. But it wasn’t. This wasn’t because I were old (well, in my 20s). This is because of the love that this lady had for my father and this love flowed onto me and my brother. We were (and are) made to be most welcome in their house. And most welcomed by her. She didn’t just marry my father but she married into a family. And she takes that responsibility very seriously. She cares for me. She looks after me. She is always pleased to chat on the phone. She makes me feel greatly valued. I am thankful to have her in my life.

My Mother-in-law
There are a lot of jokes and not very nice comments about mother-in-laws. None of them are true here. My mother-in-law is kind and gentle and caring. She has raised 4 lovely children. She cares for them all deeply. Her relationship with Jesus flows into how she deals with people every day. I know that although we don’t see her as often as we would like that she is always supporting us with her prayers. They make a huge difference. She is always encouraging. She has made me feel truly welcome in her family. She is the reason that I have such a kind and loving husband. He learnt it from her.

In life you rarely get to choose your mother/s but I truly believe that you get the ones you do for a reason. All 4 of these lovely ladies have helped to guide, support and shape me. Today on this most motherly of days I want to say: