Out with the old, in with the new

It seems to be the mark of a family home that you own more things than you ever thought possible. I seem to spend most of my time looking for lost teddys, whilst climbing over piles of dolls. Trying to find a birthday card for tomorrow, whilst sorting through ones that for some reason I’ve bought but are no longer quite right. I think it’s because as the children grow up, the stuff they need changes and it’s hard to let go of the past. I’d like to think that I’m still the age I was when I became a mum, and that somehow I’ll go back to that time in my life again, even though when they were babies it was phenomenally difficult.

This year I’m on a mission to de-clutter, I don’t know where to start, so I have begun by ditching about 20 spoons for calpol and some gooey sweets left over from Halloween. I’ve lost weight, so might even get rid of some clothes I’ve not worn for at least 5 years. We recently finished our huge pot of sudacrem, so that’s gone too after living with us for about 7 years! Next on my list is the 11 pots of bubbles scattered round the house, and the draw full of pens for colouring which would easily support a small junior school.

If anyone needs four plastic covers for a Blackberry Curve, please do get in touch.

When I’m thinking about my faith, I think it helps to move other things out of the way. It’s like a mental declutter. Reading, colouring, sudoko, crosswords, getting some exercise, or having a change from the normal routine, all seem to help with this.

This January, my new routine seems to be reading the bible more often. If you are a Christian considering ordination, it’s kind of important. I’m following a bible course through our house group and learning alot.  I’d recommend it if you’ve got a bit stale or or bored, cyncial or otherwise drifted away from the bible..  http://www.thebiblecourse.org/

The more I learn about it, the more I realise I don’t know much about the world’s best selling book. It wasn’t written for us, as it was written so long ago, in a different culture, and uses metaphors and analogies that were much more relevant in those times, but there are plenty of things in the bible which are really powerful and relevant today. When I was on a study session, I once had a picture once of a shadow theatre, which is trying to mimic real life, but isn’t a carbon copy or manual, it’s more creative and mysterious. I think the bible can be like that at times … if we saw God how he really is, it would probably blow our minds.

In a fit of biblical enthusiasm I’ve also signed up to do a study course on Youversion, where I can read the whole bible in one year…. https://www.youversion.com .. so far so good, as it makes a change from playing Candycrush!


New year in York

Due to unforseen circumstances, the weather in York, UK has been pretty dramatic. Our lovely flood meadows were no longer there, and a lake temporarily appeared instead. Several of the streets near our home were predicted to be flooded, however in reality this didn’t happen. The feeling of being on red alert was really odd, as in one way we knew it wouldn’t affect us, but in another we were drawn into the drama of it all and the fear of what would happen if the water did arrive in our street. We waited expectantly for the surge in water after the rainfall came down from the hills on the Monday after Christmas.

I know several charities and businesses locally have gone all out to help those affected, and many people will have lost everything. For us it was more of a phony war, although many people I know lost their phone/wifi and some of the supermarkets weren’t accepting cash, and ATMs weren’t working for a while. Unfortunately there were also some scams and looting which seems really unfair.

The big frustration was that the main part of the flooding was avoidable as the system became overloaded, the authorities had to make some difficult decisions, which could have been avoided if there was more national resource put into the back-up plans. However the feeling of being supported by a coordinated network of emergency services, and the number of public sector staff doing overtime over the Christmas bank holidays, was really amazing, and made us all feel proud to live in this country.

I guess for alot of us, major problems like this are not really that frequent and we’ve never lost our homes, or our possessions due to a war, or a bomb, and the older people I know who went through the floods in Selby in 2000, talked about it in the same way as a war- pre-flood and post-flood.

The main long-term impact will be in tourism, as York relies on visitors. The city is pretty much back to normal and welcoming people back.

It’s left me feeling that I’d like to be more involved in the front-line rather than donating money, or looking at plans and maps back at HQ, but I am aware of how comfortable a situation that is and how many people around me are relatively well off.

My new year’s resolution is therefore to get stuck in, and not worry about the consequences if there is something going on that I am in the right place, right time to personally help with. I guess if we all took the opportunities to make a real difference in a small way on a regular or even a random basis, and not just in a crisis, or via the internet, then the world would be a much better place.  A verse that came up today in church, from James 2:

“15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.”