social spark Aisling Beatha

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Welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy your stay, however short, and find something that interests and blesses you.

The tabs just below will take you to posts of particular topics. So if you are looking for my posts on food, fitness or creativity, you will find them there. You will also find my posts on thankfulness or other more contemplative posts, as well as a set of posts with traditional blessings from a number of different cultures.

You can find posts with labels not included in that list via the labels list over in the sidebar.

Friday, September 15, 2017

I Bet You Didn't Know That I ...

TODAY’S NUDGE: Share something that isn’t widely known about you.

Looking back to some of the things that happened when I was growing up it's fairly amazing that I am still here in some respects.

I am not going to attempt to get these into the right order, my memories aren't that good.

  • When I was very little one of my great uncle's had a canal boat.  I don't know how often we went there, but I do know about one particular visit.  Apparently there was a little rowing boat that was sometimes used while the canal boat stayed moored.  From what I understand, there were 3 of us on the boat.  One of my great uncles, my dad and me, oh and one of the dogs. I FELL IN THE CANAL. One of the two adults on the boat yelled "She's fallen in" and in that first split second the other one thought they meant the dog.

    I don't remember any of it but I think I remember afterwards being wrapped up in someone's jumper because I had no dry clothes there, my mom had no idea I would need them.




  • At some point in my childhood I discovered that childproof medication bottles were not childproof.  I have no idea what the medication was or how many I swallowed but it resulted in me ending up in hospital having my stomach pumped.  Again, I was very young and remember little about it.  I do know that someone bought me a gift of a nurses outfit after it was all over.
  • A few years later we went on a visit to Blackpool Pleasure Beach (A big permanent fun fair). One of the rides was a roundabout with cars and motorbikes and so on.  I was sitting on one of them, waiting for the ride to start and decided I wanted to be on a different one.  I got off and started to move to the other one but it was too late, the ride had started.  The ride operator stopped it immediately but not before I had got a huge nasty graze across my back as I had fallen over and one of the bikes had hit my back in some way.
  • When we went on holiday (vacation) to Romania, we had an emergency landing on the flight home, on the wrong side of the iron curtain so the airport was complete with soldiers with guns saying "you will go here, you will sit there, you will eat cake".  To us kids it was all a bit more adventure, but I remember one of the women there being in tears because "I don't like cake".  I think it was just the last straw in what was already a very stressful day.

There were other incidents too but I'll leave you with those.
If you are someone I know, how many of those were you aware of?
If not, what stories do you have that you pull out when you need to say "I better you never knew this about me"?

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Thursday, September 14, 2017

Your Story in 50 Words - or - Who I Am

Have you ever seen this before? God's story in 50 words.

God made.
Adam bit.
Noah arked.
Abraham split.
Joseph ruled.
Jacob fooled.
Bush talked.
Moses balked.
Pharaoh plagued.
People walked.
Sea divided.
Tablets guided.
Promise landed.
Saul freaked.
David peeked.
Prophets warned.
Jesus born.
God walked.
Love talked.
Anger crucified.
Hope died.
Love rose.
Spirit flamed.
Word spread.
God remained.

I've seen this around for years and cannot find a record of the original author, so if anyone knows for sure where it originated, please let me know.

I was reminded of it recently and got to thinking what my 50 words would be. Or yours? My 50 words could be

I am :
the baby who survived after multiple miscarriages.
the toddler who nearly drowned in the canal.
the child who discovered what happens when childproof bottles aren't.
the awkward kid who never who never really found herself.
the ' good girl ' who found a guy, had a baby, THEN got married.

And that could be the end of my story, only it isn't.
And there begins another 50 words

I am:
blessed, chosen, adopted, accepted, redeemed and forgiven.
loved with an everlasting love.
I am:
one who struggles to live in that grace.
one who dances.
one who writes.
one who STILL stands.
one who hangs on by her fingertips when everything around her yells "let go".
I am.

If you had to fit your story into 50 words or less, what would it say?

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Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Mixed Media Art Video

I'm still taking part in the Blog Along with Effy Wild. TODAY’S NUDGE: Give something away. A printable, a mini class, a tutorial you did on YouTube, or sound advice about something your readership might benefit from.

I did think about doing a giveaway of something physical but since most of the people who read my blog are based on the other side of the Atlantic, postage could get expensive.  So, instead I decided to share a video of a mixed media art page I did a few years ago, pulling together inspiration from a couple of different pages I had seen online.

Please excuse the quality of the video, it was my older camera, and not brilliant.


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Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Forgotten Dreams

Today’s Nudge: Write about a dream you once had that you let go of, and where that led you.

Growing up I went through all the "chosen careers" that little girls often go through, but ended up settling on teaching, on teaching at primary level.  (For any American readers who are confused by English education terms in this post, please check out my other post where I explain it all.)


That didn't go so well.  My dad did not like the idea at all.  I remember phrases like "no daughter of mine is becoming a teacher" and "Well if you must teach then you have to teach at a secondary school, because primary teachers aren't worth anything, they don't teach anything that's got any point to it."

Looking back I see those statements through a lens of how hard he had fought to get to where he was in life and not wanting us to settle for anything less than what he thought was the best, but at the time I was heartbroken, and I spent months crying myself to sleep because there had been another argument about it.  I tried explaining that primary teachers are the most essential part of the process because they teach kids how to learn the school way, they teach kids all the basics they need in order to learn the stuff that he thought was worthy.  It didn't make any difference.

I didn't give in though and eventually got signed up for a teacher training degree, with his reluctant blessing.  That, however, did not go according to plan, I don't think I was ready for university on one level and then I got pregnant part way through my second year.  There was no onsite nursery at my college and I just did not feel I had it in me to be a mom to the best of my ability and to be a student to the best of my ability.  I could do one or the other.  So I left teacher training college to be a mom.

I walked away from the thing I had fought so hard to be allowed to do and I never regretted it not for one moment, I was happy being a mom.  But it was always there, in the background, this thing I had not got to do.  I did various things over the years that I see now were connected with this passion, this drive, to teach, to be involved in kids education in some way.

  • I was treasurer of the preschool playgroup my son went to, 
  • I was chair of the committee on the scout group my boys were in (and my husband was a scout leader at), 
  • I took a home study course in Montessori education.
  • I started to take a turn on the rota in the creche (under 5's) at church, 
  • eventually moving up to take responsibility for overseeing that group
  • Then I was asked to move up to the 5 - 11s 
  • and at one point was responsible for all our kids work, birth up to 11
  • I got involved in a charity that needed volunteers to take school assembly talks on how children could get involved in their project
  • I started offering "broadly Christian" assemblies to the schools that had taken the charity assemblies (There is a legal requirement for UK school to hold a "Broadly Christian" act of worship daily, the extent to which and the ways in which schools fulfil that requirement differs greatly but for now the requirement is still there) and worked my way up to 6 different schools
  • At the request of one of the head teachers I brought together a team of people to do Open the Book bible story assemblies in his school
  • That extended to a second school
  • I then became a school governor in one of the schools

It was at this time that a job came up at a local primary school.  I looked at the job description a number of times and didn't apply. I figured I just wasn't good enough to get it so why bother applying.  Then a friend who had also considered applying told me I really should apply because I would be perfect for it, so I did.  It was for someone to work for the Methodist church in the school because the school is a church school joint between Church of England and Methodist but the Methodist congregation in that part of town had closed down due to dwindling numbers.  (for American readers, this is a still a state school).

I got that job, it's only 7 hours per week, but 24 years after I last walked out of a teacher training classroom, I stood in front of a room of 30 children and I taught a Religious Education lesson.  Strictly speaking my role in RE is only "support" but the first teacher I was assigned to handed me the curriculum and said "there you go, do what you want to with it" so I took the challenge and I taught.  24 years.  I got my dream.  24 years in which there were many years I did not even think about it. 


I do other things in school as well as teach RE, I do assemblies, I set up prayer spaces, I run after school clubs, I lead "moving on" sessions with the year 6 pupils getting ready for secondary school, but it is the teaching that gives me the biggest feeling of satisfaction.  I'm living my dream.  It doesn't look like I thought it would look, but it is still my dream.


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Monday, September 11, 2017

The Woman Who Bled

Today in the Blog Hop I am sharing a story that I wrote a few weeks ago.  It is a story where after reading (or in this case listening to) a bible story, I imagined what it would have been like to have been there.  Where would I have been, what would I have seen, and heard? What are the details that would have got missed out when the story of that event was written down?



I was on the edge of the crowd somewhere and I wasn’t looking at Jesus.  I was watching HER.  I didn’t KNOW her, not to speak to but I knew who she was.  We all did.  We knew not to touch her if we passed in the street and I had watched her when she was shopping in the market.  She always waited for the stall holder to place her items down and completely remove their hands before she picked them up so that they would never be touching an item at the same time. I knew that a lot of the stall holders wouldn’t serve her at all, wouldn’t answer her questions, wouldn’t even make eye contact or acknowledge she was there.

It was as if they wanted her to be invisible, or maybe it was the concept of her blood they wanted to be invisible, for to deny the idea of a woman’s blood is to deny her power in part.  To refuse to acknowledge one is to never allow the other to be mentioned.

I watched her move through the crowd, slowly, silently, almost invisibly.  She was touching people, I mean she MUST HAVE been, there was no way to get through that crowd without doing so, but no one noticed.  They were all so focused on Jesus and what they wanted, what they expected from him that they didn’t even see this woman who really needed him.

There were moments when she disappeared in the mass of bodies, but then I would catch sight of her again.  Sometimes she had her back to me, or the side of her head, but there were moments when I had a clear view of her face.  I was expecting to see fear, or desperation, but what I had not expected to see was such a fierce determination.

She continued to move through the crowd, and I was so intent on watching her, so fascinated by her journey through the crowd that I almost forgot that Jesus was there.  That was until she got right up to him and then she ducked down and I lost sight of her altogether.

I was desperately searching for her with my eyes when I heard Jesus speak, clearly, above all the noise and clamour around him.
“Stop!  No, really, STOP, who touched me? Who was it?  I need to know.”
His friends looked at each other, then at the crowd.  They looked at Jesus and then back at each other, I could tell that none of them wanted to be the first to speak, but finally one of them did,
“errrr, have you seen this crowd? They’re ALL pushing and shoving.  Look, we’re not bodyguards, we can’t stop them.”
“No” Jesus said “That’s not what I mean.  Someone touched me, I felt power go out from me.”

That’s when I spotted HER again, I think I realised what had happened at almost the same moment she did.  She looked around herself and then right at me, I was sure of it.  Did she know I’d been watching her?  Was that a smile creeping across her face?  I don’t think I had ever seen her smile before, but then I noticed she was trembling too.

She rose slightly from where she was crouching, she cleared her throat and whispered
“It was me” but no one paid her any attention.  Was she still invisible to them?
Louder now she said, “Me, I touched him.”

Jesus turned to face her, she fell at his feet, her whole body shaking now.  He held out his hand and the crowd went quiet.  They waited to see what he would do next, they KNEW who she was, they knew to avoid her, why didn’t he know, was someone going to tell him?  Then she took his hand and there was an audible gasp.  Jesus smiled as she took his hand, he drew her towards him and she stood up, in front of him, in front of all of THEM.  Finally, they SAW her, finally she was acknowledged.


“Daughter” Jesus said “It’s OK, don’t be afraid, I know what you have been through, I know how you have been forced to live separated from even those you love.  You can go in peace now, your faith has healed you, you are freed from your suffering, both that which came with your condition and that which was put upon you by others.”


Where do you think you would have been had you been there?
Have you ever imagined yourself into a well known story, whether from a faith background, or a historical one?


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You can check out the sites I link up to over in my sidebar. Before you go, why not check out my recipes index page, or my craft projects index page, I am sure you will find something there to interest you.
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