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Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Three years

Three years ago today my Mum died. In many ways it feels like a lot longer ago than three years, so much has happened and changed over the last three years. But in others I cannot believe it is that long. We still talk and remember things Nana did, and some days I still really feel the gap. Today was one of those days.
For work I had to go to London, and had the privilege of being invited to talk to a Committee made up mainly of MPs and very senior business people. It was a daunting prospect, but God is so good. Prayers for peace were answered, sitting in a coffee shop this morning before it started I flicked on Facebook. There on the newsfeed flashed 'Be strong and courageous, do not be terrified..... For I am with you' . Now I might not have been facing Joshua's situation, but the sense of Gods timing and care was unmissable, it never ceases to amaze me.
Coming back home with a story tell of how it all went I wanted to pick up the phone and talk as only mothers and daughters can, and that's where it's still hard. I miss the chats, the relationship. The pain of grief lessens, the missing does not end, nor would I want it too.

Today London was as inspiring as it can be. Blue skies, impressive buildings and an atmosphere that tells you you are in the capital. I'm thankful for the opportunities given to me, thankful for the care shown to me, and noticing again how time just goes by without you realising.




Jane

a picture(s) is worth a thousand words







Emma

Monday, 29 April 2013

Sunday, 28 April 2013

sunday

the house i currently live in i bought off an old lady whose parents bought it newly built in 1924. when i moved in it had no kitchen to speak of, no central heating, needed a complete rewire and redecoration throughout. i discovered what i wanted for the house and what i needed for it were two very different things. with help from friends, family and work colleagues six months after i bought it i was able to move in with all the big work done. 

during the renovations i had lots of ideas and thoughts some of which got put into practice, some of which still reside on a wish list in my mind, money and time notwithstanding. at that point in my life i was very bad at asking for help, i was only slightly better at asking for and taking on board peoples advice and opinions. where i found that easier was when i didn't know much about the subject, like for example electrical wiring. i spent time with my electrician and worked out what would remain electric and what would convert to gas, talking about the distribution of power in the house to enable me to keep warm, feed and wash myself should one or other item go down. 

today in my bathroom cleaning my teeth whilst waiting for the shower to heat up the lights went off. looking up i noticed the red light of the shower was also out. knowing the wiring set up in my house, i know that if one thing goes it trips a switch to isolate it, i left the bathroom to investigate. no lights in the hall, the washing machine had stopped mid cycle, the heating was off and the alarm box was bleeping. checking my electric cupboard i found no numbers on the display of the digital meter. i had no electricity. a call to the electric board informed me someone would be with me within the next four hours. 

wondering how i was going to get clean, i remembered my boiler is gas fired; there was no hot water due to the supply to the boiler being electric. it struck me i was yet to have my first cup of tea of the day; no electric, no kettle. my hob is gas i thought i will boil a pan of water, the ignition is electric it didn't fire. i found the matches and finally was able to boil water to make a hot drink. i looked around my house at all the things that rely on electricity; no tv, no radio, no computer, no wifi, no heat, no hot water on tap. as i looked around my eyes fell on a pile of magazines bought during the previous weekend away with the girls, to much talking happened for much reading of them, i'll read them i thought and after i'm through with those i will read my book in time for book club. 

waiting for the pan to boil i realised i wasn't annoyed at the circumstances i found myself in. it's sunday. sunday is the day i now slow down, i sleep late, i take my time, i read, i write, i pray, i reflect on the week been and the week to come, my pace of life on this day has become the turtle to the hare of the week. i like it that way. it benefits me this way. sure flicking the tv on and perhaps watching a film was on my radar at that point in time but i hoped i could do it later after the engineer had been. it struck me how different my attitude is to slowing down and stopping now. if this had happened last year i would have been a bear with a sore head. forced to stay in one place, waiting for something to be fixed, something that was slowing me down and holding me back from doing what i wanted to do and getting to the places i wanted to be. in short i would have been my own worst enemy. instead it became a challenge to do something that i take for granted every day; flick the switch of a kettle to make a cup of tea or pull the cord of a shower to get clean. the engineer arrived after an hour and a half of waiting, the fuse to my meter had blown, he replaced it and power was restored. both he and i were thankful it was a short and easy job.

slowing down has enabled me to look around. taking twenty four hours at a slower pace each week has invigorated me. i know it sounds strange to say it but i realised i was just keeping going for the sake of keeping going, filling my time to the brim because it was the norm and the expected thing to do. pulling back and actually taking time to consider what it is i am doing with such zeal has lent perspective. it has enabled me to not move in quite so many directions at once and focus my thoughts on the next step for each direction i want to take rather than winging it in all of them. 

i would never have imagined something so simple would make such a difference. i highly recommend you try it.

Emma

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

playing light

Last week at work I had to attend a Strategy workshop. For the session after lunch we were asked to do an activity called 'Serious Play'.
Now I don't know if any of you have ever done serious play, but this meant being given a bag of lego, and  being asked to make models, which had symbolic meaning, even down to the colour of the bricks that were used.
And it got me thinking. In so many areas of my life I carry responsibility, as a mum, in work and church. I don't always wear it easy, but as an only child responsibility is something I've carried for most of my life. Now in all the varying roles I find myself it can be hard to switch off, to be light and easy. I was struck again by this whilst reading 'The Rest of God' by Mark Buchanan. I've loved reading the book, but my down time has been doing some 'serious' reading on a challenging subject, no light easy rom com for me.
My over analytical brain has been telling me that I only know how to do 'serious play' and that I've lost the art of doing and enjoying things just for fun, of being a 'girl' and kicking off the roles of the week, stretching back and being light.
So, I'm making a change, and starting to build in little things for me, which do not avoid work or anything deep or meaningful. I'm going for runs, and on Friday in preparation of going away I did something I've never done in all my life. What was this shocking event?? I went to have nail extensions.
I sat whilst my nails were filed, extensions glued, shaped and then painted. The sitting still for 45 minutes was a test in itself, surely I had other things I should be doing. But I did it.

6 days later I still cannot quite get used to having long nails, the tapping sound I now have as I type, or the look of my hands.
Even on the beach I couldn't help but look.......(whilst drinking fizz....)



You see it doesn't look like me. But do you know what? I starting to quite like not doing serious play all the time of learning to rest in a different way. Having my nails done could become a habit.....


Jane

Monday, 22 April 2013

friendship

 



 




this weekend was a double header - the sun shone and i spent time with old friends. we ate, drank, walked and talked, a lot. we got our fill of the sea and recharged our batteries, winding down enough to arrive home exhausted - have you ever noticed how that happens?

Emma

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

morning wonder


electronic beeping signals me awake after a fitful nights sleep, the wind rustles through the open window billowing lightweight curtains gently in its wake. from the grey stemmed cotton cocooning my body my sleep laden eyes try to focus; first on the electronic bringing the outside in and secondly on daily devotions. my arm released from this comfort extends to stem the passage of time again, wishing i was still dreaming i turn over to ponder anew. upright now under waterfall washing nights remnants away i'm thinking still of words just read and preparing to face the day. clothed as if in mourning i apply heat to newly cropped layers, gazing from reflection to window my eyes see, i gasp and then run. in front of me; a promise reminder. as quickly as it arrived, it left. in its wake; myself smiling sweetly. faiths visual kick start to the day.

Emma

Monday, 15 April 2013

attraction


this morning whilst looking at facebook i noticed two of my friends had shared the same video. nothing unusal about that but this video was from britains got talent. in the uk the big tv rivals fight for ratings on a saturday night, this saturday saw the start of britains got talent going up against the voice uk. if you are a regular reader of this blog you will no doubt realise that i would opt for listening to someone sing over watching a dancing dog any day of the week. intrigued i clicked on the link and quite unexpectedly found myself crying whilst watching the clip. have a look for yourself.

Emma

Friday, 12 April 2013

recharging





i arrived home last night feeling like i had just got back from a fantastic time away but all i wanted was a nice cup of tea and my own bed. i was home late after a late meeting; i poured a glass of wine and stayed up late. i am a person who enjoys other peoples company but i have a trait inherited from my father that every now and then i need to withdraw to be by myself.  there are a handful of people i can withdraw with and feel like i'm by myself but last night it was alone time. 

i pottered. i listened to the music that had been selected for me for my birthday. i love it when people do this for me. it usually means it is something that they enjoy and they think i will too. my brother did this for me this year opting to buy me two records by the same artist, the second record having only been released last month. james yuill was the artist he selected. i like it. well surely you have to like anyone who releases the record himself stating on his first record he recorded it in his bedroom and using pledgemusic to fund his second.

i also reminded myself of what my niece had written in the card she made for me telling me i was the best auntie in the world and that she loved me telling me the best bit was i was mummy's sister. getting a second wind she wrote on the other side "you are the best and you are always happy and smiley and you are only cross when grandma spoils your fun and you squabble about your money." that's another family trait i've inherited. but if that's the only bad thing she can think of i'll take it, love seeing myself through her eyes. oh to keep seeing with the eyes of a child.

Emma

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

radio eclectic

today i have been mostly data inputting. 

on days like today i usually opt to listen again to a radio show i have missed. almost every time i opt for guy garvey on 6music. today did not disappoint. i realised however by the time i had written down the third song that had brought a smile or reminded me of a place in time or made me wish i could sing like that; what an eclectic mix these songs are. that's actually what i love about not just guy's show but 6music generally. these were the three songs i wrote down. if you do nothing else; listen to marvin gaye. boy, that man could sing.





Emma

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

life on the run




for the third night on the run i am home with only enough time to turn around before i head out again. this weekend was my birthday. i am still celebrating, in fact celebrations will not stop until two weeks time when jane and i head to a girls weekend where two of us will have had birthdays since the last time we were all together. the birthday greetings started early with contact from an old friend who was heading with her family deep into the african bush; without internet or phone connection she wanted to be sure i knew she would be thinking of me. her email was the first of many messages, texts, phone calls, cards and presents received. not to mention singing of happy birthday in various guises along with handmade greeting cards from my nieces and nephews, each of them raising a smile. how my almost three year old nephew managed to part with as many fireman sam stickers as he did i will never know. my house resembles a florist and i am mildly concerned about how many house plants i now have to keep alive. i am grateful for friends and family who have been generous with their presents and their time; suggesting afternoons and nights out all in the name of celebration. i am touched. the day was filled with sunshine and it continues to be, as long as i keep ignoring the washing and ironing pile. 

Emma