Saturday, 30 April 2011
This was the statement with which Dr Richard Chartres opened his wedding address to Prince William and Kate Middleton yesterday. There is a lot about me that I would like to be different and there is a lot about other people that I would like to be. I am challenged to trust that God made me exactly the way He wanted me and that only I am made perfectly to do what he asks of me.
Henri Nouwen also speaks of individuality: "You will discover that many other spiritualities you have admired and tried to practice no longer completely fit you unique call. You will begin sensing when other people's experiences and ideas no longer match your own. You have to start trusting your unique vocation and allow it to grow deeper and stronger in you so it can blossom in your community."
I feel that I have come to a time in my life when I am clearly seeing the choice I have to make. I can choose to agree with my envious and self-doubting thoughts, I can undermine myself and harshly compare my insides with my perception of other people's outsides; or I can say "yes" to the me God created, fight every day to believe that what he says about me is true and that he knew what he was doing when he made me. I can try every day to be more who God meant me to be.
Thursday, 28 April 2011
I know that I should do everything for the glory of God, I have heard it many times. I try to glorify God, but it isn't very glorifying when I am tired, resentful or unhappy and my best efforts are not enough to overcome these feelings. Often the result is ugly; and I feel ugly, outside and in.
The quote above reframes this dilemma. It leads me to the question, "When am I most satisfied in God?" For when I am satisfied in Him, worldly efforts fall away and the "me" He created in infinite wisdom and generosity is free to shine. For His glory.
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Tuesday, 26 April 2011
My best friend has just moved in with us and how our week will look now very much involves her. We sat down together this afternoon and planned out the term. It is hard for me to let go of control, to accept that someone else's ideas - different ideas - might work, might, in fact, be better than my own, but we have come up with a plan. One to be typed up neatly and perhaps even laminated. It is only for eight weeks - the eight short weeks before we declare school's out and head off on our summer holidays.
We are going to finish off the maths syllabus with each child and read a chapter book every day. I want to read the books for the Imperial War Museum exhibition and will also try a maths book and the Boys' Book of Survival. She will take them out cycling and I will lead art and free-writing once a week. My eldest will be expected to do six lots of half-an-hour personal and unsupervised study each week as well as getting an afternoon of maths tuition. I will have time to run during the day and go to a mid-week service at church.
It's hard to let someone else in and I find it hard to let someone else help. Despite often feeling run ragged by the demands of life I don't like the feeling that I am not doing it all, that I am not indispensable. Sharing so much of my life, something that I am so used to doing alone, will take some adjustment but I am excited about what bringing in free ideas, fresh insight and fresh energy will mean for us and the way home ed looks in this home.
Monday, 25 April 2011
an Easter Eggstravagansa in the garden,
and breakfast in the sunshine this morning.
We spent today at another National Trust property, admiring works of art, sunbathing while the children played and following an Easter Egg Trail. And, of course, we had tea and cake. It's been fun, it's been a break, and it's been good to spend extended time together.
Saturday, 23 April 2011
But not this weekend. I have made a decision to take this long, double-bank holiday weekend to really be a holiday. We spent the day at Chartwell yesterday, walking in the woods, exploring the history of Winston Churchill's home and experiencing life as a slightly different-shaped family.
Wednesday, 20 April 2011
We got home late from our walking trip to the Peaks on Monday night and, after conferring with the children on Tuesday, decided to celebrate as soon as possible. Chocolate cake was duly baked for breakfast consumption - elevating this event to the status of a birthday - and we sang "Happy Stay Day". Even the builders got a slice (which will hopefully energise them to finish the garage conversion, giving us all a little more space) and we are looking forward to this new chapter in all our lives.
Tuesday, 19 April 2011
Friday, 15 April 2011
Thursday, 14 April 2011
I had a list yesterday, and had already written today's and Friday's, making sure that I had enough time to do everything that I needed to before I catch the train to Derby for a weekend away walking.
And then the phone rang and it was my mother's neighbour telling me that mum was being taken to hospital, leaving her frail, elderly husband at home. It was helpful to have my list, so that when I had to drop everything and leave, I knew what had to be caught by someone else and what I just had to let fall. It is amazing to have friends that are willing and able to give their time to drive my son to his god-mother's for the over-night stay and day trip that he has been counting the weeks, days and hours to. He had only just told me that it was 35 minutes until he left.
It has also been amazing to see social services in action and to have a carer arrive only minutes after I did to tell me that 48 hours of live-in care were in place while longer term arrangements were made, leaving me free to visit my mother and reassure myself that she was comfortable and in good hands.
And now I am waiting. I have another list of what I need to do once my step-father is safely in respite care, which will be organised today. I cannot even make a list of what to do to help my mother until she has had the necessary tests to determine what happened yesterday. So, at the moment I have only one thing on my list: wait.
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
I always meant to measure my children's heights on a door-post so that we could all marvel at how much they had grown but I never did. Their development is clear to see however: they out-grow shoes and clothes, they bump their hips rather than their heads on grandma's breakfast table and they even coo over tiny baby shoes in the shops, which they themselves wore not so long ago.
It is important to notice progress and the only way to do this is to remember how things were. No matter how depressed I am about the state of my garden, there are a few photos of how it was three or four years ago that never fail to cheer me up. In the hazy worlds of home-ed and personal development it is hard to see this progress and easy to slip into the trap of feeling that nothing is changing.
Perhaps it is necessary to be intentional about noticing progress. To pay attention to what the children can do, or read, or understand right now so that I have something to compare last and next year with and to see how they are thriving; to pay attention to where I am right now, what I cope with, what causes me to spin out, how I respond to a difficult situation so that I can see that I am indeed becoming calmer and better humoured as I deal with some of the uncomfortable feelings in my life. Perhaps it is even time to fashion some rosettes of our own.