Category Archives: Prayer

Wherein I have surprised myself..

Goodness me. I have been gardening for much of the day. I have quite enjoyed it. When I say gardening I don’t mean anything complicated, I just mean tidying the front hedge, attacking the third of the grassed area with the shears (it does not deserve the name of lawn at the moment) so that when a dry day comes along and I can get the grass cutting machine out, it won’t die of exhaustion (it is on it’s very last gasp anyway) and weeding the paths.

This odd state of affairs may have come about because I have been office bound for weeks now, and it really doesn’t suit me. I know this, my team know this – the team I’d been lent to for two days a week now know this. So, a day of relatively strenuous activity has been very pleasant.

I have also been enjoying  the Olympics. I was staying with friends the opening weekend, and really loved the Opening ceremony, and the events we watched. Now I’m back home in my TV free zone, I’m enjoying the occasional on-line clip of the best bits, and catching the news about it on the radio. It’s sufficient. Actually, I surprise myself every four years by enjoying it more than I think I will!!

I have also, after taking nearly a month to calm down, claimed a most satisfying victory.

I’m also giggling at myself, after realising several truths about me and church. Dear me, I am a slow learner. But, I’m getting there, which is what matters, and, more to the point, I’m getting to where God wants me.

Dear Lord,

I know I said it was time for me to get a life… but, did you have to take me at my word quite so quickly? It’s been non-stop all day!

And, um, about this on-going, low-grade bubbling up incredibly easily at the least provocation temper tantrum that seems to have been constantly with me for months? I’d be really quite glad to see the back of it, as it’s a tiring companion, to say nothing of making me not the nicest person to be around when it’s at higher than simmering point.

Yes, yes, yes… I know what it’s all about really, and yes, I will do something about it… well, OK the several “its” that I’m scared of. What – what would I do if one of the kids came to me with these scenarios? (Japes squirms… folds arms and glares at feet… and mutters “Yeah. Well. But.”)

Can I change the subject now? No, I won’t forget. No, I’m not “just saying”.

Whilst I’m here, a word about the next week. I’m not sure right now it was a good idea, and I’d quite like to back out… what do you mean, no?

(Japes stomps off to pack rucksack, steel toe cap boots, and emergency cho….) WHAT DO YOU MEAN!! No emergency chocolate…?!

Pah. I hate it when you’re right. (Japes’ sense of proportion is restored, grin back on face, rucksack packed, no chocolate..)



My legs are. I’ve made them work too hard this week, and they is achy. Hot, hot bath later, and maybe only an hour or so in the new boots tomorrow, before needing to wear them for work.

So is my bookseller’s soul rebelling. I’ve not done it for two years, and on my return today, the queries were exactly the same. “No, I’m really, really sorry, you can’t get a Large Print leather bound KJV Bible in a small enough size to fit in your handbag for church on Sunday.”

My introverted nature is also rebelling! I’m a pretty sociable soul, and can be very gregarious in company when I have to be, but I also need plenty of time alone, and slightly more than I’m currently getting. Hopefully, after Christmas, that balance will be restored. It’s why I’m so adamant I want to live on my own for now.

And, so it the bit of me that struggles with being cared for. I am truly grateful for all those who are caring, but there’s beginning to be those who are drifting over the line from caring to interfering, and I don’t take that well.

Then, I’m rebelling about church tomorrow. It’s Harvest. Which I dislike (and I’m avoiding the Harvest Supper, too!) I’m in desperate need of sleep, and taking a bit of stock of where things are going. It’s also a significant date, and for the first time in a long, long time, I won’t be joining in liturgies and events to celebrate.

So, once this evening’s visitor has been and gone, I am shutting and bolting the doors, I will do what ever I need to to, except any work of any description.

Breathes a huge sigh of relief

It’s raining.

This means I do not have to worry about the plants, currently my incredibly reluctant responsibility, dying from lack of water in my absence. Mind you, if they’ve picked up the vibes as I’ve been stomping around twice daily wielding the watering cans, they’d’ve shrivelled up and died days ago.

It’s also marginally cooler. Though, now I’ve found the fan, it’s still rather nice to have it on!

I am also almost through with all my current responsibilities work-wise. Four days next week, and that’s me done… until I find a Proper Job. Or some more regular combination of the musical things I can do that pay well, that work in with current part time job. There is much to commend carrying on with a mish-mash of part time things for the next year. But, never again, will I work in two different age ranges, across four different establishments, in two different education authorities, with differing term dates. Whilst I’ve enjoyed the very different kinds of work I’ve done, and it has contributed highly to the Keep Japes Sane Campaign, there have been occasional real clashes that have caused me and other people considerable stress. This week being possibly the worst week of all.

Now, to some more ironing, and packing, and away to the Big, Big City for some whirlwind event attending, and possibly socialising.

Oh. Am excited. Oh.

New memo to self.

Chill – God’s ideas are remarkably good ones, and if God really wants me Elsewhere, then, the Elsewhere will be provided!

On two counts am I currently excited, both very unexpectedly so. A New Idea for where I might live for the next year has entered the arena, and from such an unexpected source. It’s not somewhere I’d ever considered, and it’s not where I’m currently job hunting, but it is a very strong possibility if the current set of possibilities don’t work out…

Then, there was this evening’s youth service. We have a small, but faithful band of teenagers, and this is a new initiative, having a shortish evening service that is purely for them. Hopefully, soon, they will be a bit more confident about leading or directing it themselves, but for this evening, I’d volunteered to make sure something happened. They’re also an eclectic bunch, and what one half likes, the other half hates. Oh joy!

Anyway, I decided on a chilled approach, given it’s also exam season, and I know they’ve all been extra busy with numerous things lately. So, we read about prayer in the Bible, talked about what prayer was… then I left them to get on with praying! I’d brought down several options, dependant on who was there, and in the end went with a clear, straight-forwards exercise to do… if they wanted… and left various pictures and icons and crosses around for them to use… if they wanted.

What they wanted was the exercise I gave them, and silence. So, that is what they got! I reluctantly got them out of their deep silence twenty or so minutes later, but I think they’d’ve stayed there for a lot longer if it were possible.

It’s been a good day!

The Stats Game

Those dear people who’ve landed up here as a result of the search engines, looking for answers to the phase they, or others, are going through, I can only sympathise.

I have no advice on whether or not you should go barefoot when visiting a sock wearing boyfriend. It’s one of those things you are just going to have to decide about for yourself. It’s digging too far back in my memory as to what I would have done in a similar circumstance..

I’m retiring for the afternoon. Two hours sleep last night, and no food over the last 24 hours, and a heavy morning spent plotting and scheming (chocolate was refused, as was real coffee – I was sent home for the rest of the day as this is, apparently, conclusive proof I am Not Well!) is not conducive to remaining awake any longer.

I think God is taking me at my word at the moment.

Dealing with life, death and laundry

Holy Week busy-ness, eleven days away, and hitting the ground at record breaking speed on my return, and the realisation that the underwear drawer was very bare, and none of it was in the airing cupboard. Well, much as I had other ideas for today, laundry just had to be done!

I wasn’t exactly dressed for the outside world, luckily. Emergency items were dug out from their hiding hole, and I had to resort to the painting and decorating jeans. A Day At Home being domesticated was declared.

The retreat, for those interested, (Thanks for the prayers, Ian, and anyone else) was a really important time, and there is much to ponder and dwell on in the weeks to come. It was hard, hard work, much harder than I’d anticipated! Especially as I gave up all pretence at being a serious grown up mid retreat, but and got on with the work God needed me to do in a much more Japes friendly fashion, and at Japes friendly times. (Late night, when no-one else was around.) It meant there was a good chance of God getting a word in edgeways, and getting me to understand what He’s trying to get me to do…. I did give the poor Sister locking up at night a bit of a fright the first time, as she came across me in completely engrossed and utterly absorbed mode, with a huge pile of strips of paper all getting woven into a design. But, luckily, she was the one I was talking to, and I could explain I’m really a late night person, and the usual pattern of life in a retreat house/religious house doesn’t work well for me at all, though I do try and work with it. So, the next night, when I was surrounded by large sheets of paper, and glue sticks… she grinned, asked me to turn all the lights off when I went back off to my room, and left me to it! It all made for interesting packing coming home, and I had to plead mercy and ask for a bin liner. My poor spiritual director isn’t going to know what’s hit him when I turn up with this bin liner full of things to explain. That’ll teach him to say he wants to know all about it!

By way of light relief, my godchildren were visited on the way home. We need to have a serious conversation about prayer not being a one way process and God not being bored by us, ever. Soon! But, they know how to share chocolate cake, so I’m not a total failure as a godmother.

I came back to a much more humungous and urgent pile of work than I thought might have been the case… so, this is the first chance I’ve really had to sit down and reflect on the time away. The main thing is, I am much, much clearer that what ever happens in the future, the life I am currently leading is not where God wants me to be, nor is it enabling me to be the person He created me to be. It’s not going to be easy when it all goes public in about a month, but I feel much more able to cope with the potential fall out now.

And for your prayers, my niece’s friend died this week, aged 13. Expected as it has been, it’s still all very, very hard for everyone, especially her parents, and friends, who’d hoped so much it might not come to this.

Ironing, Annoying Phone Calls and Storage Boxes

It’s an activity I rarely indulge myself in, but when I do, oh boy, it’s usually a mammoth task.

So, today, I have ironed acres and acres of curtains. Keeping me motivated involved at least two short breaks, two cans of Diet Coke, one banana, two yummy biscuits, one main meal break (stir-fry and Moroccan couscous, with Emmental cheese), two Scramble Breaks, and loud music to sing along to. It also involved several trips up and down the step-ladders, the complete re-arrangement of the chapel chairs to provide somewhere to keep the freshly ironed bits as flat as possible, and finally persuading Jesus he wanted to hang up again. It’s a delicate operation getting him to hang up properly…

I took the phone with me, to get two really annoying phone calls for the other member of this household, who does some work from home, and some of this includes fielding bizarre questions from random people. Trouble is, some of these callers assume the answers are at my finger tips. (I only occasionally help by stuffing envelopes at mailing out time!!) I’ve learnt to be firm about saying “Call back on….” or giving out the e-mail address that I’m allowed to, but both of these two were persistent in asking the questions they wanted to ask, “Just in case you can help…”. I must not be fully well yet, I can normally deal with these calls politely and without getting involved. I have been self employed, I have worked in busy retail, I am the daughter of a life-long self employed parent, I have lived a life that has me dealing with bizarre phone calls…. Of course, they both rang when I was up a step ladder! My Best Friend, however, with her immaculate sense of timing, phoned just as I’d re-attached the last of the curtain hooks to the rail!! She had had the advantage of following my progress on my Facebook Status!

The only outing I’ve had all week was to buy a new storage box for my room. I failed, because I didn’t realise that lids cost extra… it really was not at all clear, and it was only when the lid was removed at the till, and the second barcode appeared that this became apparent. I shall try again tomorrow.

Spare prayers would be welcomed for R, who’s 13, and who’s cancer has now spread to her brain.

Help! Out of Control Prayer Lists…

A wide variety of friends and acquaintances, knowing I do pray, leads to eclectic intercessions lists. I’ve been relying on memory until recently. But, currently my poor head is bursting with so much information, I need a Pensieve, I think, to syphon it all out!

I also need, I think, a small, portable notebook in my bag at all times, and possibly, a better System! My in-room system is a cork noticeboard with picture and post-notes. It works, but I don’t always remember what I’m asked to pray for during the course of the day. (Woe – hopefully God honours the intention, and the quick prayer that usually happens there and then.)

Mind you, I got a fair amount done in the writing of this mornings list of lists… maybe it’s not as out of control as it feels right now.

Just, maybe, some grim situations all at once, including a two year old, with cystic fibrosis who is not well enough for the surgery he needs, and someone who’s cancer has taken a dramatic and heading for terminal turn.

Embracing tradition

I have observed, in my copious reading of wiblogs to avoid housework or other distasteful but necessary tasks, that it appears to be a well established tradition to use blogging in various ways either to aid the procrastination, or to use it as the carrot on the stick to keep oneself on task. Or to beg for the aid of the community in keeping to the work in hand.

This is something I can embrace with much enthusiasm! I have been forced into copious hoovering and floor washing and bathrooms cleaning for the best part of the morning, and am now exhausted. I did start by reading a blog or two with my morning coffee, but resolutely kept to my list and with the exception of hoovering the guest room, and my own room, I am done.

I even washed the floor of the bathroom I generally refuse to do on one of my whirlwind go through the entire house in a morning efforts. Mostly because I could ignore the dust balls hiding behind the door no more. I think there was more dust visible than floor, though the rest of it had obviously been washed and swept since the last time I decided to do it. But, also because we have a guest coming who’s likely to use that bathroom. It’s the one with the shower in, and as I don’t shower, (don’t be rude, I have a bath regularly and wash behind my ears every day.) I rarely, if ever use that bathroom.

It’s also one of the mornings where I can get on with a fair amount of praying. I hate housework, as you may have gathered, and to keep me from getting wound up about it, I pray as I work. So, I got on with the somewhat daunting list of urgent intercessions that gathered late last night! It was most scary being on an instant messenger thingy with two upsetting conversations going. One person upset about the death of his grandmother, and another updating me on a mutual friends family situation which is getting grimmer by the day. I’d’ve got off the computer and phoned, but we were all trying not to disturb other members of our households who should’ve been peacefully slumbering.

However, I do now have to return to the battlefield, then take myself off out to do some other things I’ve been putting off.

EDIT: Smugness reigns. I have finished the hoovering and washing of floors. Ahead of Schedule.