social spark Aisling Beatha: April 2007

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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.

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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

If you don't ask, you don't get!

This is NOT a sponsored post in any way shape or form. I am not personally going to benefit from writing this, but I thought I ought to tell you about something that I already benefited from in case you can benefit too.

We currently obtain all our cable tv, landline phone and broadband from Virgin Media. We were Telewest customers and Virgin took over Telewest a few months ago.

We have phone line rental (for which we pay £11), broadband (for which we pay £18.50), and we dropped down to their free tv package a few months ago when we were really cutting our budget. (You can only have the free tv package if you stay as customers of other products such as phone etc.)
Hubby noticed that their current offer to new customers is phone line rental, the same broadband that we have now and the top package tv (for 12 months, to drop back to the middle one after that), for £30 a month. That's just 50 pence more than we are paying now! And somewhere hubby had seen that the offer was open to exisiting customers.

Soooo, he phoned them up. Hmmm, there was a catch, there always is, right? It's only open to new customers if they are taking out a new service. i.e. if they are currently only customers of 2 of those services, and are taking out the 3rd.
So hubby launched into "if you don't ask you don't get" mode.
UK readers will know that there has been a huge bust up between Virgin Media and Sky TV, meaning that we recently lost access on cable to all Sky channels. That wasn't much of a loss to us, there were only a few shows that we really watched on it, but we know that Virgin have lost customers over it. So hubby said something to the effect of "Well, we've been customers all these years, why should we stay with Virgin? What can you do for us." So the girl he was talking to went to speak to a supervisor and came back.

OK, so we can't have the top mega package on the tv, but we can have the one which it will drop back to after that 12 months intro, we can have it, the broadband and the phone line rental for £30, and for us that price will be fixed for life! Unless a better offer comes along. But we are guaranteed that they will not put the price up! so for 12 and a half pence a week we have all these extra channels that we have missed while being on the free package. We get the GOD CHANNEL back! We get a lot of the documentary channels back and plenty more.

Now it doesn't always work. We tried it when we we first moved or mortgage. Our intro offer had finished and we asked them what else they could do for us, they offered nothing and so we moved it to someone who could. But heck, it's worth a try! If you don't ask, you don't get!

oooooooh, one of the shows we are just in time for the new series of (new series over her at least) is Extreme Makeover, Home Edition, and I know that someone I know online said there was one in her neighbourhood, this series. If that's you, can you please remind me so I can watch out for that episode in particular.

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY!


The photo says it all this week.
From a local Victorian Museum!
'Nuff Said?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

My Broken Car headlight

We have some new news on my broken car headlight.
Yes it's all working fine now because hubby got a replacement glass and fitted it for me.

I still wasn't happy with an explanation though. Knew it wasn't an air gun or something like that, because of the way it smashed and absolutely no sign of a bullet, wasn't happy with the "stone flicked up by a car on the road" explanation either because of where the car is parked behind bushes.

And then, TONIGHT, just 20 feet away, in that row of bushes we find a dead bird of prey. I've looked it up online and I'm pretty sure it's a Kestrel. We're just coming out of breeding season into laying season, and during breeding season they are particularly territorial, like all birds. I know that other species sometimes attack their own reflections in windows and other glass objects and I wonder if this kestrel, caught sight of his reflection in my headlight glass (parked near a lampost so there would have been some light even at night) and went for it. A bird of that size going full throttle for an enemy could indeed smash a headlight.

I know we don't live in a rural area, but I have seen Kestrels before locally, hopping around by the side of a road once. And we've seen other birds of prey on a regular basis.

Another explanation is that someone had seen it and was taking pot shots at it with a gun and got my headlight instead.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Always an Adventure

Well, it's always an adventure around here.
Earlier my dad came over to take my two boys (12 and 15) out for a round of golf. Youngest has been feeling ill the last few days with tonsillitis but said he was fine this morning! hmmmm!

A while later I got a phone call from my eldest son on my dad's phone.
To tell me they were on their way home because youngest had passed out on the golf course!
Great huh?

Anyway, they're back now and he seems fine, no ill effects other than a bit of a bloody nose. He has had a couple of nasty nose bleeds the last few nights, so probably when he fell, he dislodged something and it bled again. The boys are supposed to have golf lesson tomorrow. think only eldest will be going somehow! And it was one of their golf instructors who sorted them out and made sure he was ok.

Oh BTW, HELLO ROB!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY!

Was going to take a new photo for this week, because the weather is so good, but I can't find the camera, so here is an old shot.

This is my friend Ello, who got married yesterday!
HAPPY DAY ELLO! See you on W@H soon?

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Monday, April 02, 2007

Sleeping With Bread

Huh? Sleeping with Bread? Shouldn't this be on the food and fitness blog?

NOPE! Read on, this is a post all about looking back on the last period of time. It's from the blog of a lady called Mary Lue.
The examen, based on the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius, helps a person hold onto what spiritually nourishes him by looking at what is giving him consolation in his life or causing him desolation. It allows someone to express his gratitude to God for the good stuff and turn to Him for solace for the bad stuff. This is not an excuse to bash people involved in the bad stuff, just an opportunity to turn the good and the bad over to Him, say "THANK YOU" for the good stuff and "HELP, I cannot do this on my own" about the bad stuff.

It is quite simple. You simply ask yourself, in the last day/week/month what gave me consolation and what caused me desolation. You can also phrase the question in any of the following ways:

For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?
When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?
When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?
When was I most free? Least free?
When was I most creative? Least creative?
When did I feel most connected? Least connected?
When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?

This is my first ever Sleeping With Bread Post. For an explanation of why it is called living with bread, follow that link and check out Mary Lue's Sleeping With Bread blog.
In the future I won't put all that blurb up there to explain it, I'll just head on in to my explanation. You don't have to answer all of them every week, you can choose which and for what period of time!

I wonder if I can do them all today for my inaugural post.
For what am I most grateful? Least grateful?
Right now I am most grateful for the youth event at church this week. It means that my two boys are being kept very busy and hubby and I are getting some unexpected time on our own. I am least grateful. I am least grateful for my tail bone! It has been causing me pain. I received prayer for healing yesterday and will continue to do so, but some days it just drags me down, not being able to get comfortable and therefore relax.

When did I give and receive the most love? The least love?
Hmmm? When did I give and receive the most love? I've been surprised by my 15 year old wanting more hugs than usual, he's actually been coming and asking for them, that has been really nice. The least love, would actually be the same child. He has been struggling with his attitude for a good couple of weeks. I know that this is natural and a normal part of growing up, but I wish I could deal with it better.

When did I feel most alive? Most drained of life?
Most alive? Worship! On Sunday morning, standing with God's people, and singing praise to out God. Most drained? I know what the answer is, but I won't post publicly!

When did I have the greatest sense of belonging? Least sense of belonging?
Last Wednesday, praying with two good friends, one of whom attends our church and one who doesn't. Least belonging? Probably when one of the church trustees said she needed to speak to me about my contract. Nothing like reminding you you are an employee to lose your grip on a sense of belonging in a church.

When was I most free? Least free?
Hmmmmm, I think I was most free the last 24 hours, because my boys are being kept busy at a church youth event at all hours of the day, I have very little ferrying them around to do, certainly no school run trips and can pretty much set my won schedule. That has been nice! Least free? Something I already mentioned, when cornered by one of the trustees at church to say they need to talk to me about my contract. Just reminded me enough that the financial stability that this job provides could be pulled out from under our feet any time they chose to do so.

When was I most creative? Least creative?
It hasn't been a particularly creative week at all, so I guess that answers the least, and most? Today I guess. We had our weekly paper craft club at church, and i made perhaps half a dozen cards. I am looking forward to Thursday next week though. It's craft day on QVC for the UK. I probably won't buy anything, but I will use it as an excuse to sit in front of the TV ALL DAY, with craft materials ALL OVER the living room, and appropriate TV snacks and drinks surrounding me! OH YES! That will be a creative day! Hmmm, maybe I should make it into a blog post!

When did I feel most connected? Least connected?
TODAY! I had the opportunity to speak, albeit briefly, to someone who I have been struggling with, in my head. We didn't discuss that, but it was good to have a conversation with her, where we were on the same page, had the same heart in the situation we were discussing and I most certainly was not being got at or blamed (which is what my fears had been telling me).

When did I feel most fully myself? Least myself?
Can't answer this, really can't. I think I have lost touch with who I am again. Not completely, I mean, I KNOW who God says I am, but all the rest of it, what do I like, what am I good at, who do I relate to, how do I relate to them, all of that has to be answered with a "well, I THINK . . . " or an honest, "I don't really know". Don't worry about me though, I am sure God is on the case.

When did I feel most whole? Most fragmented?
A lot of these questions are very similar, hence part of my reasoning for in future only answering a few at a time. So, how do I differentiate between this and some of the other questions. . . . hmmmmm? I felt most whole today, walking away from that conversation, knowing that in the thing we discussed, I and the other person were on the same page. I feel most fragmented when I allow the stresses of a particular situation to get to me and allow the enemies lies about it to seep into my heart. I can't really say more than that.

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