In uncharacteristically lucid moments.....

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I have a vision!
I shall be a content, settled, englishwoman, whose children go to school and yet who does not feel guilt every day because of this. Of course they go to school. They like school. Why on earth would I keep them here all the time?
I shall have a blissful garden, fit to be opened on charity days, and I shall remember the names of obscure varieties of plants, which I shall discuss knowledgeably with my fellow gardeners. I might even join the garden club.

I shall have my vegetable, plant and craft shop, in a little shed, beside my house, and I shall have old, fat, purebreed hens, pecking around the door. I shall make something of a living from this, enough to pay the school fees maybe, and it will make me happy. I shall go grey, and possibly even have a perm.
I shall hack out with my children, hunt occasionally, and take them to pony club, where they will be average but happy, we shall never excel, but their childhood will be golden.
When they marry, I shall buy them cookbooks and Cath Kidston aprons and babysit for them willingly, without feeling the need to turn them into puritan matriarchs.
Meanwhile, I shall help them with their homework, read Thomas Hardy and Anthony Trollope with them, continue to take them to Olympia, and teach them to pluck their eyebrows and use moisturiser. Before it's too late (as in my case.)
I might write the odd recipe book, or word or two of nostalgic prose, or at least I shall screen print my christmas card each year, and design nice labels for the plants I sell. I shall make pumpkin soup and force my friend Ali to come round for luch at least once a term, to browse my little shed shop and walk over the downs.
I shall grow old gracefully, smell of lavender, keep up My Standards, and be rather a dear Grandma. Of course, I shall always love God, and I shall give Him all the glory for this gentle existence, but i shall feel no need to be a zealous fundamentalist, blowing His trumpet for Him hither and yon. He has angels to blow trumpets, and can convert folks through His Holy Spirit - if people see Him in me it will be through the comfort of a mug of soup, a nicely sewn angel for the tree, or my children, who I pray will be a good example, and testimony of love.
I shall not be found writing words of wisdom when my children need a hug.
I shall bake mince pies and keep mulled wine on the go throughout the whole of December, and you will be most welcome to visit. Knock the snow off your boots and come on in!

Remembrance, Reality, Malory Towers

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Well, after blipping off the scale back into my plain down home phase, I am hitting reality again. I find it incredibly hard, but helped today by the Remembrance Day Parade.
O God Our Help in Ages Past, For Those in Peril .... Guides, Brownies and Senior Section were fantastic, we were so proud of them.
I just do have to stop rocking my children's boat. It's not my job now to pretend there is the option of a creekside homestead in Tennessee, home made cotton frocks for life and a Southern Baptist Boy to marry, and have 15 children!
They want to go to school, ride ponies, be in the Guides, and live their dream. It's time to leave mine to lie, and pick up where I left of 35 years ago.
Off to soak in the bath, with what else than First Term at Malory Towers.
I can brainwash myself into anything, if I try!!!

Lament for Lost Innocence

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Today, we went to a CofE church in our town. It was a challenging service, as there were two christenings going on, the church full of people who didn't really want to be there, and the incessant racket of discontented children, running riot all over the place.
It wasn't a good day to visit. The youth workers tried hard to talk to H, but it was more than she could take in. She ended up very tearful, with them being full on fab, groovy, you are going to love our wild and crazy kids activities, and her obviously praying for the security of her strict baptist sunday school where as wild and crazy as it gets is colouring!

Even before we went, I had a qualm about times gone by.

A few years ago, I would no more have visited the CofE church in town, than flown in the air! Scott Savage's The Plain Reader was the most thumbed book after the Bible, silence and the oil lamp reigned in our house. Heartily we homeschooled, peacefully we sought the old paths, the plain way .....

Now, I will admit, this caused us to take some dubious side routes with regard to the religion in our life, but in the calm before this morning's storm, I was suddenly reminded of moments from Savage's other book, another favourite, A Plain Life. Specifically, the moments shared with his daughter in the pre dawn barn, and the joyous garden planning of New Years Day, and I nearly wept.

These used to be my aims for my week, such precious, family close, earth scented silences, such private, prayerful, blossoming truths. This week, I will do Brownies, Guides, Pony Club, a couple of meetings, and no doubt wrangle with possibly arranging school for the children.

Where has it gone, Lord, and why? Is this sea change Of You, or am I so far from the right path, I can no longer even see it. Straight is the gate, and narrow the way. Have I fallen on the broad path?

I have a heavy heart tonight. Neil is sanguine. If we are wrong, he says, the Lord will show us. But children are such a precious duty, such a beautiful responsibility. What if I am wrong?
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