Saturday, 17 June 2017
This is what our local paper said today........
Iced Latte for the husband and Iced Cappuchino for me...
Sundried Tomato and Mozzarella Panini for him...
....this huge Beetroot and Falafel Salad for me.
Followed by a slow stroll to the less busy end of the beach for an ice cream...
........ and two very unflattering photos of myself that husband sneakily took...
I am wearing my unglamourous "cataract sunglasses" as advised by my optician.
They fit over my regular glasses, and despite looking very unattractive , stop my eyes hurting in sunlight
All this is on our doorstep and a place we regularly visit.
Another hot bus ride home to be greeted by a rather grumpy cat who hates hot weather
and putting the kettle on for a welcome cuppa.
My shoes were full of sand
Thursday, 15 June 2017
I have , what my husband calls "an annoying habit"....I talk to people I don't know!
If I am in a queue, or at the bus stop , or sitting next to someone on the bus, I have this tendency to start a conversation.
This has resulted in some interesting discussion, both light and frivolous and deep and meaningful.
One such "deep and meaningful" conversation happened at the bus stop on Monday.
Had just missed my bus so had thirteen minutes to wait. Was soon joined by someone I vaguely knew to speak to as they live round the corner from us.
They knew I went to the Baptist Church and that we believe in the need to be 'born again' which I was asked about .
Then out of the blue, this was dropped into the conversation....
" Why does the gospel offend so many people?"
That made me think.
As usually happened I thought of a better answer when I got home and had time to sit and think!
Why does the gospel appear to be so distasteful, so offensive? It is mostly off putting to people who feel they have everything, materially, socially, career wise. People who believe that they are entitled to all they 'have' .
The gospel sounds like a tragedy: die to yourself and you'll live.
Salvation sounds like bad news: we are saved not because we are brave, clean and reverent; but because we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.
Salvation has nothing to do with turning 'bad men' into 'good men' but 'dead men' into living men.
You can see why the good news of salvation is offensive to those who think they 'have it all'...it doesn't apply to them does it?
The good news of the gospel only applies to those who recognise that they are 'losers', be it rich folk, poor folk and all those in between.
Each must consider himself a loser if he wants a seat at the King's banquet:-
Luke 14:16-24 New International Version (NIV)
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”
The price of salvation is high, and yes, we should sit down and count the cost. But when the counting is done there is that absolute certainty that everything we have as a born again believer is exactly the right price for a seat at the banquet.
All you have to be is a certified loser and God will send His servant Jesus to positively drag you into His House.
Be like the yellow duckling I came across recently, who looks nothing like his siblings, no idea why.........and stand out from the crowd.
Wednesday, 24 May 2017
This email appeared in my in box a few days ago....exciting!!!!
(Elsie Joy Barker is my name at birth...but have always been called Joy or EJ)
Three months ago my eldest daughter presented me with a Ancestry DNA kit, so that the result would hopefully, arrive in time for my birthday...which is in six days time....
She had her DNA analysed at the beginning of the year with some surprising and very interesting results.
My children have a West Indian Father which accounted for the very diverse results.
Was not expecting any surprises in my DNA results, apart from the Irish and French Grandmother's.
This is what my results are:---
So where did the Scandinavian connection come from I wonder??
We knew from the extensive research done on the family tree of both my parents lineage that no one had moved far from the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire area; so no surprises there .
The most exciting thing though is that there are four confirmed third cousin DNA matches, and six fourth cousin DNA matches.
The Ancestry.co.uk web site allows me to send messages to these cousins who are anonymous. It is up to them if they wish to make contact.
I do hope some one does, don't you?
Now my other daughter wants to get her DNA done just to see if she has any Irish blood, as none showed up in her sister.
Long time since I did DNA mapping in Human Biology classes so am not 100% sure how the links are formed.
Happy Birthday indeed
Tuesday, 9 May 2017
I 'suffer' from an auto immune disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, it is not life threatening, just blooming annoying.
It comes and goes, triggered by a trauma or incidence of excessive stress.
I have been in remission for just over six years ...until now.
If you remember, last May I had the fall that damaged my knee, that was the trigger for this relapse.
As my Rheumatologist reminds me "PMR takes a year to cook"...
....then there is a "year, or eighteen months of hell"...
....followed by a "year of tapering off" before it fades into the background again.
(If you have PMR for longer then it is Fibromyalgia. They are similar in symptoms but with distinct, notable differences)
Well, I have had my year of "cooking" now I prepare myself for the year ahead.
Having been here before so know what to expect and will weather the storm without the offered medication. As always I refuse the mega doses of steroids to take for two years minimum, or the offer of Methotrexate.
Am used to living with chronic pain so this just takes it up a notch, it is the limited mobility that annoys! So will just get the walking stick out of moth balls ready for use and carry on.
And get to visit my rheumatologist more often...Thursday this week again.
The photos are off a walk my husband took two weeks ago to see the Bluebells in the wood.
We were a week late really as they were just past their best, but uplifting to the soul none the less.
This fallen branch was covered in a velvety moss that was wonderful to the touch.
Hoping some one somewhere is having warmer weather than we are in the UK...it is mighty chilly and extremely windy......brrrrr
Wednesday, 3 May 2017
I have mentioned before on this blog, the sad fact that all my three children have genetic hereditary illnesses.
My eldest daughter is severely affected by Ehlers Danlos Syndrome.
She is now chronically disabled and mobility very limited.
A pain free day is never an option.
Her younger sister is also affected but in a much milder form..for now.
We all know that it can, and will progress.
May has been designated EDS Awareness Month
As a chronic pain sufferer myself, am fully aware that pain is invisible to those around you and hard for non sufferers to really understand how it limits life.
So, am just making you aware...
...please go and read about it, it is more common than you think.
Thank you for listening
Saturday, 29 April 2017
Smile Number 1....a true story
Husband and I always sleep with the bedroom window open, even in the depths of winter. The only thing that hampers this is the fact that the front of our house seems to be in a wind tunnel and the strong winds play havoc with the window.
The window in question is a designated 'fire escape' window because the roof of the bay window is directly underneath it. These windows have specialist hinges allowing it to be opened flat against the outside wall... for easy exit in case of fire.
Why am I telling you this? If the wind blows up in the night the window can, and does fly open if I don't catch it in time, which I usually do....
however...on Friday night/Saturday early morning I didn't catch it and was woken up with curtains billowing wide into the bedroom. The window is on my side of the bed and I'm the light sleeper so it is up to me, usually, to shut the window. This time the wind had caught the window full on and it was back flat against the wall which meant I had to fully lean out to haul it back in again.
This done and peace restored once more, I get back into bed only for my husband to open one eye and say..." You do realise, you haven't got any clothes on?"
Too much information I know, but I don't wear night attire, but have a long tee-shirt at hand if needed...in the rush I had forgotten it....ooops!
It is not uncommon for folk to be out and about in this area at 2.0am in the morning and I didn't have my glasses on so wouldn't have spotted any body.
Smile Number 2 and 3
These gems were in a newsletter aimed at 'seniors' I picked up recently and made me laugh out loud.
Pure examples of British Humour, so it set me wondering as to how many of you will actually understand...
Joke of the Day
"To help save the economy, the government will announce next month the the Immigration Department will start deporting Senior Citizens, instead of illegals in order to lower pensions and health care costs (flu jabs, walkers, wheelchairs, free prescriptions, bus passes etc)
The Government has established that older people are easier to catch and in most cases will not remember how to get back home. I started to cry when I thought of you all, maybe I would never see you again.........then it dawned on me...I'll see you all on the bus!!!"
Annual Senior Citizen Test
Only four questions. It's good to keep the brain active so relax, clear your mind and begin.
Not as straight forward as you think!!!
1. What do you put in a toaster?
2. Say "silk" ten times. Now spell "silk" What do cows drink?
3. If a red house is made from red bricks and a blue house is made from blue bricks, a black house made from black bricks, what is a green house made from?
4. No using a calculator for this one.... You are driving a bus from New York City to Philadelphia. In Staten Island 17 people got on the bus. In New Brunswick 6 people got off the bus and 9 people get on. In Windsor 2 people get off and 4 get on. In Trenton 11 people get off and 16 get on. In Bristol 3 people get off and 5 get on. and in Camden 6 people get off and 3 get on.
You then arrive at Philadelphia Station........how old is the driver??
Thursday, 13 April 2017
Yes, I will follow Jesus
I will gladly follow Him around the Sea of Galilee and be fed alongside the five thousand.
I will drink wine made from water.
I will rejoice with the blind man who can see and stand amazed at a dead man who rises from the grave.
I will follow Jesus everywhere....except ...the cross
Oh I can cope with the burdens, those everyday troubles that we all must put up with.
And besides, there are always others to help us carry those burdens.
I can accept the thorns, those annoying inconveniences that can't be avoided.
I just accept those and get on living.
But a cross?
No, it is not my inclination to take up a cross.
Unlike burdens or thorns from which we can't escape and learn to put up with...
...a cross is a choice.
A choice that Jesus willingly made.
He did not have to take it up, he could have refused.
But, no, He willingly took up His cross so that you and I might have power.
Power to carry one another's burdens.
To gladly accept our thorns.
The Lord asks us to willingly take on those difficulties and situations that we face daily
and head up the long path to Calvary
where pride and vanity, stubbornness and resentment are crucified.
His death and resurrection gives us the power to make that choice.
To daily take up our cross and follow Jesus
Monday, 10 April 2017
On Saturday husband and I took the bus to the next town to pay a visit to my mother-in-law.
This is him with his mother
It was a very hot day and the bus had the heating on full blast, we also went past several fields of oilseed rape which as an asthmatic I avoid at any cost as the mere smell of them affects my breathing. So armed with extra inhalers and a scarf over nose and mouth as we past the bright yellow fields.
It might look pretty and summery to you....
Mother-in-law lives in a small flat adjacent to the Louth Navigation Canal and as it was such a sunny day she asked if we could go a walk along the tow path...she is rather wobbly on her feet so does not like to walk alone...so we did.....
As we crossed the road this sight came into view....
What is lurking behind the tree stumps?
All was revealed!
A rather large teddy bear!
But isn't it fun?
This canal was the hub of transport for many years and slowly the old warehouses are being turned into flats
Here is one that is just about to be modernised
We walked as far as the first lock and were pleased to see how clean it was compared with our last visit.
The running water on a hot day was so calming..
....thought that I would share it with you.
Friday, 17 March 2017
you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.
We are nearly half way through the forty days of Lent, the time of repentance.
The time when we search our souls, when we, as Christians ask ourselves who we are, and also whose we are.
The season of Lent is a time of soul searching preparation before the celebration of Resurrection day.
Only a truly honest view of our sin will give us a full appreciation of God's mercy.
Only when we fully understand how lost humankind really is, do we then grasp how great is our salvation.
Remember....Christ did not simply die for the general sins of the world...
He died specifically for my sin, your sin.
Can recommend this Lenten reflection by Vinita Hampton Wright
Monday, 13 March 2017
I have a lovely friend who gets really taken over by what ever the latest trend is on Pinterest.
Last year it was Hygge...a Danish word for something that most of the world has been doing for generations.
This year the trend is for "Self Care Boxes"
I got one for Christmas
It was full of things that would fulfil my 'self care wheel' in order to maintain my 'life balance'.
My friend was rather put out when I emptied the box and put the items into everyday use instead of keeping them all in the box for use when I was feeling particularly down and in need of some 'self care'
This got me thinking....
When I am in need of 'self care' it is to my Bible and prayer that I turn, not things in a box.
I am not 'self sufficient' and don't want to be.
There is too much self sufficiency about.
The dictionary definition of self sufficient is:-
1. able to supply one's own or its own needs without external assistance
2. having extreme confidence in one's own resources, powers, etc
It’s not that hard to admit that we need God’s help in this life. Only the most proud or the most foolish believe they are truly self-sufficient. Yes, we need God. Yes, we can seek from God whatever we need—help, comfort, or guidance.
But actually taking the step toward God can be not only difficult but complex. A lot of things can get in the way.
Remember one simple fact: God is for us, not against us. God waits for us, eager to help with our pain, shame, anger, or fear. The only thing to do is step forward and bring to God whatever burden hinders us.
Wednesday, 1 March 2017
Apologies for such a long time in between posts.....
On 31st January I was struck down with 'Acute Viral Bronchitis' and things got much worse before they started to get better I can tell you!
As you can see from my daily journal entries.
As the bronchitis was viral no antibiotics would touch it and a case of waiting for it to pass...oh, so much easier said than done. It has taken most of February for it to 'pass'
Have never known a cough so very, very painful, the bronchitis sent my asthma totally haywire which in the end turned out to be the biggest concern and has only just stabilised within the last couple of days.
....oh...and did I mention the pulled rib muscles a bout of coughing left me with?.....painful indeed, and still are as the inflammation takes a while to heal...
Apart from that, all is well as we enter this season of Lent once again.
We had a very chilly few days...the lowest my weather station recorded was on 2nd February, when the outside thermometer registered -9.8'C at 8.05am...just as my husband was going out to get the bus to work.. It was only 17.2' indoors too I see...the heating doesn't come on till 7am
Later on in the month we had 'Storm Doris' which brought us gale force winds and some horrible hail storms. Was rather glad to be staying in doors!
My son in law rescued these Daffodils that the storm had flattened when he came round with my annual spring supply of compost...3 for £10 from all good garden centres at this time of year..
I took the photograph before he had brought the third bag in. Which he had to carry from the boot of his car, up the garden path, through the front door, through the hall, through the kitchen and out of the back door.
Now all I need is for the weather to warm up a little and I get get my vegetable seeds sown in the large pots that are all cleaned and ready and waiting...it won't be long now.
Friday, 27 January 2017
It was the Woodpeckers fault!
Tuesday is the day I join my daughter on her mid morning walk with the dogs.
This time we decided to take a leisurely stroll around the back of the lake to see what we could see.
In the cold weather the birds come out to feed much later so 11.0am is a good time to bird watch.....
We saw a pair of Kingfishers...or perhaps the same bird twice? They zoom along the river bank so quickly and all you see is a flash of 'kingfisher blue'...glorious.
The pair of Herons seem to have been joined by another singleton.
The Egret count has gone up to three now.
All the Cormorants seem to have disappeared for some reason.
We met a knowledgeable ornithologist who was telling us about the arrival of some 'Gadwall' ducks amongst the many others that are there on the water...or rather perched precariously on the vegetation as the lake was frozen in the most part.
The path was extremely muddy and slippy and when I suddenly spotted the elusive Woodpecker climbing up the side of a very near by tree I was over joyed.....
.....so much so that I didn't look where I was going, caught my right foot in a tree root or tuft of vegetation and 'splat'......flat on my back in the mud with my knee taken a good wrench.
Closely followed by two Labradors piling on top of me to join in the fun!!!
Thank fully, because it was so cold I was wearing numerous undergarments and my big walking coat, so they cushioned the bounce...and the fact that I splatted into a particularly muddy bit, no real damage was done........
....apart from my right knee....
Thankfully not my left, which if you remember was damaged in another tripping incident in May last year and has not fully recovered.
The ornithologist helped my daughter haul me upright and we took a slow walk home...with a cold and wet bottom!!
What next my family have asked, and queried whether I am safe to be let out on my own...
Saturday, 21 January 2017
Yesterday morning, after a week of dank, dark and damp weather the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly as I waved my husband off to work at 8.0am.
So twenty minutes later I was all togged up in my warm walking clothes and set off with my camera.
As you can see, the winter sunshine gave rise to some glorious photo opportunities.
Don't let the blue sky fool you; it was mighty chilly!
It looked as if there was the magical 'will-o'-the-wisp' forming over the river...but that is only seen at night
The clear sky led to some wonderful reflections too
There were a few dog walkers out and about.
Was home by 9.40am.
Am always amazed that though we live in the suburbs of a busy industrial town, this nature reserve is only a ten minute walk away.
We also have similar access to several woods and footpaths over fields and beside still waters.
God is to be found in Creation
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
A year has past since the TSSF Area Meeting decided that I was not suitable to go forward for Profession, which greatly saddened me as it meant that I also lost friends and fellow Franciscans as well as my Spiritual Director.
Having been without a Spiritual Director for all of 2016 the search is on for some one who is willing to take me on. This is not an easy task! Last year two were found for me...the first one we both agreed it would just not 'work' and the second viewed 'spiritual direction' as their career and charged £30 a session plus travelling expenses.. an offer I declined.
Until my accident in May of last year my life had continued as an Urban Hermit...then things got all topsy turvy 'pear shape' and my times of solitude and silence got lost in hospital visits, physio therapy and so on. Until now...
With the start of this New Year the call to solitude remains as strong as before and so I am slowly withdrawing back into the glories of time spent alone, well, not really alone as God is also there . Taking on only the minimum of commitments as before.
I had a conversation with some one at church last week about solitude in general, interestingly they viewed 'solitude' as being a very selfish Christian. Believing that as Christians we are all called to be out in the world evangelising. This view of solitude is not one I had encountered before, more often I am asked "don't you get very lonely"....no, I don't, solitude is not loneliness, and I do not get lonely in my solitude.
I am content, and happy to be reclaiming my solitude
Neither is solitude easy...it tends to bring up things deeply hidden in the mind and soul and laid before God.
Then I read this short article by Sister Thérèse Garman in last weeks church's service sheet:-
"Loneliness is linked with our expectations of others. If we expect people always to satisfy our longing, we will always be disappointed. When we are lonely, we often try to distract ourselves. Restless and unhappy, we summon other people, by email,phone, social media etc. to meet our needs.
Solitude, however, can lead to contentment...we are able to be present. Jesus always found time for solitude with his Father. Do we sometimes need solitude with God? We can practise solitude by spending time in daily prayer. But solitude is more a state of mind and heart, an attentiveness, than a place. With inward solitude, we are not alone. Amid noise and confusion, we possess deep inner silence. We can then reach out to the lonely. We need to go from loneliness to solitude to community. At the core of our being there is a longing for God that can only be met by converting loneliness into solitude"
Taken from ' Sunday Link'
Monday, 2 January 2017
Today marks the end of our annual holiday board game marathon...
....this year I have done particularly badly!
We started with Dominoes, but soon discovered that the cat liked to join in which wasn't conducive to play, so we soon gave up on that and settled in to Draughts (Checkers for US readers)
So each day over our mid day meal we played three games,
Here we are on Christmas Day, eating an ad hoc picnic of cheese and crackers whilst we play.
The drink is non alcoholic
As you can see.....I failed miserably. Martin winning nearly every game.
This is because he is very sneaky and bides his time whilst I merrily move counters without thinking ahead. In one move he managed to hop over four...yes, FOUR of my counters in one move.
....and then....in the evening we played Scrabble...
I failed miserably at that too as you can see... because Martin knows weird words like 'xi' and 'xa' and 'qa' that do not appear regularly in my vocabulary but score high points in Scrabble.
I am 'Numpty'...husband is 'Pillock' which are our regular terms of endearment for each other.
The words actually mean the same thing, we looked it up.
My son sent us a "Stratford upon Avon Special Edition " version of Monopoly for Christmas.
(That is where he lives)
Maybe next year we will have a Monopoly Tournament.