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A Skinny Fairtrade Latte in the Food Court of Life - Page 5

  • Culling Continues... even the cats are joining in!

    It's a funny thing, this shift in thinking/feeling away from acquiring to reducing.  I haven't read any Marie Kondo stuff, so this is not inpsired by her, more it's the impact of clearing my Mum's flat (in 2016) and her room at the care home (2018) and just how much 'stuff' there was.

    Looking back, as a girl who left home at 18 with a suitcase that contained 90% of what she owned, I have since then treasured and cared for everything I have acquired.  Reluctant to waste anything, I kept jars of screws, washers and nails (they went a couple of years ago), leftovers from craft projects (the last of which went this week), books I'd never read again (around 1000 given away in the last twleve months) and so on. 

    Beyond that were the things kept for sentimental reasons - many of which have survived assorted culls, and are now in my 'memory boxes' - a couple of medium sized storage boxes that will, if necessary, one day go with me to a care home!  Things that spark memories.  Things that have no inherent value, yet immense personal worth.  Badges, certificates, mugs, childhood toys, photos, souvenirs.

    But mostly, I'm, joyously becoming increasingly ready to let things go.  And the cats are joining in too!  This morning we culled a big bag of toys they don't play with, and in some cases haven't played with, to give to the charity that rescued them.  We still have plenty of toys.  And it does seem that even the furries are enjoying a less cluttered environment.

    I don't for one moment regret acquring all this stuff, it has over the years borught me joy and delight.  I suppose it is a little bit scary when I realise how many hundreds of pounds worth of stuff I am rehoming, but I have no regrets, about buying it, having it or giving away to bless others.

    Still a long way to go to be truly minimalist - but it feels like the right season of my life to slim down the 'stuff' and enjoy the space!

  • A Little Light Reading...

    A rare treat this afternoon... time to sit with a book or two.  I need to read one, and re-read the other, of these two ahead of the final services in our series on 'Aspects of Spirituality'.  So far, I am really enjoying myself and learning some new stuff.

  • Churches' Letter to new Prime Minister

    The embargo is lifted, the letter is published.  You can read it here.

    You may not agree with this stance, and of course I respect that.  I just hope that we can all 'agree to disagree', if necessary, and focus on living out the Great Commandment in the way we each feel is best.

  • Prayers, Intercessions and Thanksgiving (1 Tim 2: 1 - 2)

    I try to avoid party-politics on this blog, but the (not unexpected) result of yesterday's Conservative & Unionist Party leadership contest, which de facto imposes a new Prime Minister on the UK (for the second time in three years, as it happens) has given me much cause for concern and pause for thought.

    It's that little thing that Paul says to Timothy, and hence to us all, about praying for "kings and all those in authority, that we may life peaceful and quiet lives..." It's an injunction I take seriously, and it's an injunction formally expressed in the published prayers of, among others, the Church of England  (guaranteed to wind up some Baptists who confuse 'separation of church and state' with 'keep out of all matters political, even in your prayers')

    So I was grateful for some repsonses in the public arena, in the light of the Pauline injunction, such as those on Twitter from JPIT (here) and BUGB (here).  Neither of these organisatons is 'pro-B,' be that Boris or Brexit, but they are pro-prayer.  And then there is this from Archdruid Eileen, one of my all time favourite bloggers which is all at once clever, creative, challenging and even a little bit funny.

    Gracious God, you gave freedom to humankind, and permitted us to establish our own structures for the ordering of society. 

    That freedom carries responsibility that can sometimes seem overwhelming, and it is easier for us simply to let others get on with it.

    Whatever we think or believe about the current political situation - and we think and feel plenty - there will be others who follow you who think and believe otherwise.

    And so what can we - what can I - pray.

    For political leaders: that you would grant them wisdom, compassion, integrity, openmindedness and humility

    For ourselves: that we would live out the prayers we pray, speaking up and speaking out wherever, and whenever that is needed - even if it's difficult, scary or risky - and to do so with gentleness, humility, integrity, openmindedness, hopefulness, faith and love.


  • Old Words...

    I'm planning to use one of my all-time favourite hymns on Sunday, and reverting one of the lines to original form because the word it uses is, in my opinion, especially wonderful.  The word (which is replaced by 'in faith' in the newer versions of the hymn) is "darkling". Acording to the online dictionaries, it means simply "in the dark" but that's not all that helpful, and I don't think is the intent in the hymn.

    As part of our English Literature studies at school we 'did' a lot of Thomas Hardy, both prose and poetry.  Among his poetry was this, 'The Darkling Thrush'...

    I leant upon a coppice gate
          When Frost was spectre-grey,
    And Winter's dregs made desolate
          The weakening eye of day.
    The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
          Like strings of broken lyres,
    And all mankind that haunted nigh
          Had sought their household fires.
    The land's sharp features seemed to be
          The Century's corpse outleant,
    His crypt the cloudy canopy,
          The wind his death-lament.
    The ancient pulse of germ and birth
          Was shrunken hard and dry,
    And every spirit upon earth
          Seemed fervourless as I.
    At once a voice arose among
          The bleak twigs overhead
    In a full-hearted evensong
          Of joy illimited;
    An aged thrush, frail, gaunt, and small,
          In blast-beruffled plume,
    Had chosen thus to fling his soul
          Upon the growing gloom.
    So little cause for carolings
          Of such ecstatic sound
    Was written on terrestrial things
          Afar or nigh around,
    That I could think there trembled through
          His happy good-night air
    Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew
          And I was unaware.


    I would have been about 14-15 when I first came across this poem, and the thrush who sang hopefully into the gloomy darkness.  So around the same age as when I encountered the hymn we'll be using on Sunday.  For me, 'darkling' in the hymn doesn't just mean 'in the dark' but rather, 'hopefully into the dark' or 'hopefully into the unknown'... it has a sense of courage and determination even when the context could all too easily become overwhelming.