Write,Pray, Blog...

So there's an interesting post about Writing it Down by Jenna at Cold Antler. And a pondering on 'right place right time' by the lovely Farmama

And this made me think of a post I wrote donkeys years ago on an old blog which is now down. And in the same breath, about a post on this very blog, right at the beginning, before I had even taken down the old one.

There is undoubtedly power in visualisation, commitment, and authenticity, whether you call it prayer, or not. I would add to Jenna's exhortation to 'write it down', two further pieces of advice.

One is, be careful what you write down (pray for, blog about) and the second, when it comes, don't fight it!

Here is the link to the early post on this blog.

And here is the long ago post which was part 2 of 3:

Monday, December 18, 2006

When We Were Still Far Off .....

The second part of my glimmer of the day, is an old story, anyone who knows me will have heard it a dozen times.

Now, I grew up in a nominally christian, CofE household. First, I have to explain to the largely American readership here, that being CofE (Church of England) household is something it's pretty tricky to relate to, when you live in a country which has always separated church and state. For 400 years, the Church of England and England have been one and the same thing, and 'CofE' is the default religion - that really is true, if you are born in England, you are 'CofE' unless you opt out. Now some families are more observant of this than others, and mine was fairly observant.

I strayed away from all that for a good few years, and the sin and depravity I sunk into, I do not really want to dwell upon, because astoundingly, I am forgiven. But oh, I was a long way off.

Now I believe that God watches over his elect, how ever far off they are, and calls them gently, steering and protecting them until they come to Him.

And some12 or 13 years ago now, I was working in a stable in Berkshire - it was a temp job, I was as it turned out, at the end of my globe trotting, and in the throes of coming home - and it was nearly Christmas. I was pretty lonely. I had been travelling for years, and I was rootless and sad, and the people I was working with in this temp job were not too pleasant. I was a bit of a mess, I drank too much, and ate too little, slept to little and spent all my money on useless things .... but I was 'OK'!

Well, one day, I had a day off and I decided to go Christmas shopping to Oxford. It was a longish bus ride, but I didn't have anything else to do, so off I went. I spent a long, cold afternoon shopping. I was lonely and sad, and although I would be spending Christmas at my sister's house - that was a place with a lot of bad, sour, memories for me. I was starting a new job in the New Year - but I didn't yet know that it would be my last job with horses, the one where I met my lovely husband, and began slowly but surely to move in the direction of my Lord and Saviour .... that was all in the future.

The light was fading, it was grey day, a day of cold, dank, freezing fog - the bus journey was a bit alarming in poor light, on bad roads, and about half way home, we passed a village green, and back beyond the green, there was a line of cottages.

They weren't spectacular, or unusual, nor even picturesque. Just a line of one time farm labourers cottages, mid nineteenth century, not old, or thatched, or specially pretty. But they caught my eye, and from one of the middle ones, emanated light, and warmth, and some sense of activity and security.

Now I can't remember if I prayed - I could have done, it was a routine way of expressing a wish to get my own way! - or if I was in one of my more new age phases, and I visualised, or affirmed (?!) - but if I prayed, what I would have said was, God, please, I want to be on the inside! I'm so tired of being out here alone. I want to be in there. Just like that. With lights on, and baths running, homework being done, food cooking, people living and loving .... let me be on the inside.

As I said, my next job took me to meet my husband, and in the ten years we've been married, we have had ups and downs, some mighty downs, so much so that our financial troubles led us to a point we thought we'd never recover - and we've moved house a dozen times. It's important to acknowledge that despite our slow, inevitable journey toward God, we were terribly, awfully dysfunctional, and the consequences for our children could have been dire.

About three and a half years ago, we moved into this rented house, on a farm, and here we seem to have settled - over five years ago, I gave my life to Jesus, and just over two years ago, in an answer to prayer, my husband was also wonderfully converted - and although we seem always to be plotting our next move, we are learning to wait on the Lord.

There's just one thing that isn't so great about our house, and though I can live with it, it does annoy my poor dh, and that's the proximity of the main road which runs behind our house. Although we are on country lanes, we have a big road a field away behind us, which hums with traffic night and day.

We'd been here over a year, before it clicked. We're on a bus route. Travelling on a grey day, from Swindon, you would look down across the field, and see, a line of cottages, nestled in a dip. And on such a cold winter evening, in ours, you would see light, and warmth, bustle and love.

Thank you, Lord, for bringing me home.

We have since moved to another rented farm house, and the story continues, of course. - J

Did you know?

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You can feed your pigs some milk from your goats, PROVIDED it doesn't go through your kitchen. If it goes through your kitchen, WE HAVE A SITUATION.

When was it they said they were going to do away with half the public sector? Are they taking nominations?

It's a new day

In my heart, there is a place, and I am trying to create it, out here on the ground God has lent us.
This place is a place which feeds and nurtures us, and helps us to live a life where we can do the things we need to do, learning, teaching, riding horses, growing food, sharing expertise, learning crafts, sharing crafts. It's a place which enables us to give our children the chances they need - we are both the offspring of unqualified working class parents, and we both took our chances and ended up pretty much unqualified ourselves. Our children have to have the chance to follow their dreams, and to have options. It's ok to choose an alternative course, if it is indeed, an alternative. In other words, you did actually have the option to succeed in conventional terms.
Despite all that's going on, I still want to reach out and stretch that place, so we're rejoing WWOOF as hosts, and hope to welcome lots of WWOOFers to share our journey, which will test me, as I try to prepare some communal meals, and open up to the idea of community, at least on a small scale.
I've got to make and sell more, and I so want to go back to the idea of running courses and workshops - soap making, chicken keeping that sort of thing. Anyone interested?
And, all being well, and provided I'm keeping up with my OU course - I am seriously honestly going to go on the most brilliant permaculture course in the universe, in February. I can hardly contain my excitement. So after that, I can share some permaculture ideas.
It's going to be Ok. It's going to be good. It's going to be the dawn of a new day.
And Paula, look out, you're the guinea pig!!!

Press On

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Do you know, the message this morning was about living in the present, a lesson I'd do well to learn, and as part of it, we covered a fair few occurences in the Bible of the phrase ... 'press on'
Which is very relevant to right now, and also made me smile, and my friend Ali will know why!

We've gone around this a dozen ways, and there is just the one conclusion - we have to just get on with it. Neil works an obscene amount of hours taxi driving, and I need to run a smallholding, and I need to make a go of it - make a bit of cash if at all possible, save us every penny I can, keep on going. When he's not working, we've got to make adjustments to the way we do things which will enable me to achieve more.

I have to find a new level.

I also have to find my camera lead, I'm getting very cross about not being able to post photos.

Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

(Phil 3:13-14)

General Update from the Fireside!

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I've been feeling lousy, had a head ache for six days, yesterday keeled over at 7pm and couldn't really wake up again - well, I sort of emerged to watch 'The Edwardian Farm' but wasn't even with it enough to be really cross at yet another comedy goat milking montage. Really. Find someone who can milk a goat properly, and get them to teach you, and the hideous Giles and Sue while they're about it. Goats should suffer no more for cheap TV. I might start a facebook campaign. (Actually that was just aimed at Jo and was a bit of a joke, so don't go looking for it!)
I'm now full of GSE and Vitamin C and seem to be fighting it a bit better. I'm starting a bit of a list here - I've got sloes still on the hedgerow, and I've already made one lot of sloe wine, so I might do sloe jelly if I get a minute. I still haven't made my Christmas Cake, or puddings, and I haven't really begun on any gifts.
My polytunnel is not clear and my garden is a total mess. OK, so all I need now is some 48 hour days. What I've got is the amazing disappearing day. 30 days til solstice, so actually 60 days until we're back at this point only with days lengthening.
There's a ditch needs digging on The Land, and there's about a million other things on the list too.
I blogged on This Little War today about renewed warnings concerning Peak Oil, and the predicted hike in global food prices. Now is not the time to slack. We've had a few set backs, these last few weeks, but hey, that's what happens to Pioneers. It's currently more important than ever to Do the Next Thing.
And if I could just find my camera lead, I'd show as well as tell!

So I'm into my second half century

and beginning to take stock, here.

There is so much I would like to change, and yet I am so inextricably tied to others, that it is no longer simple.

I have a sense of needing to get beyond. I feel limited by what everyone imagines me to be, imagines my family to be, imagines community to be, imagines christianity to be. By and large, it is all a complex fallacy.

I long to be able to get beyond it all. And yet in some sense, I know that to do that, I have to breathe, stay calm, and concentrate on the minute detail.

We went out for lunch, and I got some lovely presents, including a book about year round growing in the polytunnel, which is absolutely brilliant. Oh and Nella Lasts 50s from Ali, which is pure treasure.

Beautiul flowers, and lots of fuss from the girls. A typically foul November day, in which we got to battle the wind and icy rain.

This evening, Neil had to go back out to work, and I have curled by the fire, reading my polytunnel book, browsing around websites, reading up on communities, and trying to decide if I can find a middle way - a way to be family, and therefore separate, but also open, and therefore community.

I worry that my daughters don't get to travel, and travel broadened my mind so much, and is so vital ... but am thinking with restarting our WWOOF programme, maybe we can bring the world to them?

Ah, the ramblings of an old woman by her fire of an evening.
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