social spark Aisling Beatha: January 2010


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.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Enjoy the Journey

There is a main road that runs more or less right through the centre of our town. It keeps all the through traffic away from the houses, businesses, etc.
The A442, or Queensway, or Eastern Primary or EP, depending on who you're talking to.

Thousands of cars, vans and other vehicles drive up and down there every day. I drive up or down there a number of times a week, at least for part of it's length. One , long road that gets you from A to B really quickly, keeps you away from junctions, traffic light or anything else that might slow you down. And we all get so focussed on our destinations we are oblivious to what is around us.
From that photo above you might think that well, there isn't that much to look at, so why would you want to be looking at the things you are passing. But there is, oh please believe me that there is.

Quite a few sections of this road run between hills that still have trees and nature as it always was.
And just lately we have been seeing a bird of prey sitting on the top of one of those T shaped lampposts you can see in the photo. I have no idea what type of bird of prey it is as I can't get a photo because this is not a road you can stop on easily or safely, but I know that he is there, and I spot him MOST times I travel up that stretch of the road.

One day we were really blessed to see 3 of them in a short stretch of the road and one of them actually swooping across the road to land on the lamppost. Another day I spotted him sat on the same lamppost as a magpie, unusual because the other birds won't usually go anywhere near them. This magpie was sat at one end of the arms of the lamppost and the bird of prey was sat about half way along the other arm. Normally I see him sat square on the lamppost facing along the road one way or the other. But this day he was sat at an angle, almost as if he was eyeing up the magpie and wondering if he would make a nice lunch. It made me smile.

There are so many people using this road every single day and the vast majority of them don't even know these birds of prey are there. They've never "seen" them. And that makes me so sad. We have become so focussed on our destinations, so focussed on getting to where we want to be that we have forgotten to look around ourselves and enjoy the journey.

Bewildered Deliverer,
What is this "emptiness" you are feeling? I will tell you. You are in transition. In the midst of change there is no choice but to move. In the process of movement, settling in is out of the question. So, of course you feel rootless! A tree being transplanted cannot be rooted until it is planted again in good soil.

Ponder this truth and remember it - there is no way to enjoy the comforts of home and move at the same time. And it is impossible to harvest fruit from a vineyard yet to be.

I know it has seemed like a long journey, but it will be shorter if you keep this in mind: you aren't supposed to feel satisfied where you are. This isn't home. This is travel.

Meantime, why not enjoy the scenery? You will never pass this way again and one day you will cherish the memories of thsi trip, if you will take note of them now. otherwise, you might arrive at point "B" with no stories to tell!


from "From the Father's Heart" by Charles Slagle, published by Destiny's Image.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

To Journal

I tried to find a definition of the verb "to journal" to share with you, but apparently it is not yet a real word. It is not correct to use journal as a verb.

The closest I came was this:
  1. The activity of keeping a diary, also known as journal.

Well yes, at it's most basic form I suppose that is what journaling is about, but that definition misses out so much of what journaling is about, so much of the potential that can be tapped through journaling.

What brought on this search for a definition?

Well, over the last week or so I have come across a number of different "creative" methods to use in a journal. All of them are very interesting.

I have a friend who cuts pictures and words out and sticks them in, sometimes with the addition of extra colour on the page and so on.
I came across people who do that but completely fill their pages, rather than just one or two items.
I read the blogs of a lot of people who use their cameras as part of their journaling and others who doodle their journaling. I came across people who use a lot of colour in their journaling and others who even kind of doodle their sermon notes on a Sunday morning. Some people I came across put all that creativity into an online journal only, rather than having a paper one at all. I even did a bit of "praying in colour" which is a fascinating process. Lots and lots of creative ideas, lots and lots of inspiration to maybe do things a little differently.

And maybe I will try them, but I doubt I will do any more than try them once in a while. I doubt they will ever be more than a sprinkling through my journals.


I realised this week, as I was looking at these other methods, these other ideas, that to me WRITING is important, that scratching of pen across paper, the flow of the ink from the nib, the marks left behind that are there for as long as the paper lasts, recorded forever, or almost. The process, is AS IMPORTANT AS THE RESULT. I love to write in my journal because it helps me think , it helps me work out what I think, I pray in my journal, I cry in my journal, I experience joy and sadness, delight and desperation in my journal. And I do all that in plain, ordinary ink, on plain, ordinary paper, no glue, no doodles, no pictures, just pen on paper, the way hundreds of generations of people have done before me.

YES, I COULD try those other methods and once in a while I probably will, but plain, writing on a page is more than just what "works" for me, it is part of what makes me who I am.

I write, it's WHO I AM!

Oh and BTW sis, if you're reading this. I planned on writing this blog post before the lovely journal you sent me for my birthday arrived in the post today! THANKS! I shall use it as a separate journal specifically for my trip to America.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Love Does That

I've been trying to persuade myself that I NEED a new phone. Mine still works, is only 2 years old, but I NEED something better, with more facilities, that is easier to use for emailing, etc. Last week I started doing a weekly time of focussing and planning that I wrote about here. Some of the things involved in that process do need me to have access to the internet, such as checking my google calendar with my other written calendars, possibly coming up with some of the recipes for our menu that week and so on.
With a newer, better phone I could do that, so I was trying to convince myself I needed it. But the truth is, I am only 1 week into doing this, and although I want to be able to do it out of the house rather than at home I haven't even tried that yet so have no idea if that is going to suit me at all, let alone whether I need the new phone or not.

Last week my husband did something financially which in itself was NOT a big deal but it reminded me of some things that had happened in the past and I was NOT IMPRESSED!

But yesterday I came to a realisation. HOW is me trying to convince myself I need this phone any less wrong than what he did. OK, maybe I included him in the process whereas he had not included me, BUT I am well aware that he is feeling a little guilty over what he did last week and therefore more likely to say yes, and that he has a hard time saying no to me anyway, even when he should.
If I KNOW that truly I do not NEED this phone, or even if I am just not certain yet, what gives me the right to stretch an already tight budget even further?

Whatever he is guilty of having done, it does not make it OK for me to do this. I do NOT need this phone and I choose that for this period of time at least I will NOT be buying it. THE END! No more looking at the website, ogling it, no more "look at what a good deal that company has on their web browsing from your phone", none of it, this is OVER.

Do I feel good about that decision? I don't know.
Do I feel slightly holier than my husband because I did the right thing AGAIN? Probably yes, if I am honest and that fact alone should make me sick to my stomach, should make me want to wretch and run a mile from it.

So why don't I? What is it about the sin of self righteousness that makes us think it is any more acceptable than any other sin.

Father God, I am sorry. You did not send your son to die for me so that i could stain his name by thinking this way, by elevating myself above someone else.

WOW. What an awesome, amazing God. He still loves us even when we have treated him so vilely, when we, who claim his name, have walked in judgement and condemnation of others. And yet HE LOVES US.

But that's the whole point isn't it, that's where the whole story started. A people, whom God loved, who were not capable of being good enough, who in their own strength could never be worthy. So, God fixed it. He gave up his only son, so that we, a people he already knew would fail over and over again, could have a relationship with him. Because, whatever we have done, God's love is bigger, and we turn to him, express our regret and pain at having hurt him, ourselves and others and we resolve to be different & then something magical happens.

By ourselves that resolve achieves nothing. In fact I read a very wise woman last week who wrote that

trying harder only results in harder trials.
Self-striving nurtures self-hatred.

God himself, makes us different. He loves us, he accepts us, He makes us new, He makes us able to be different. He, by His love, does that.


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

What I Learned this Week

What did I learn this week?
This week I learned that the FIRST time you do something it will inevitably take longer than the remaining times you do it.
I decided last week that i need a set aside weekly time for spiritual renewal and practical planning. I pulled together ideas from a number of different places on the web and came up with the following plan:

Do daily bible reading and journaling.
Read through all the last week's journal entries.
Add any notes to those
Index those entries (I have a number of subtitles in the back pages and just note the page number where something that fits under one of those appears.)

Check diary I carry in my bag with the calendar on the wall, with google calendar. Make sure I know everything that should be happening this week, where I need to be and so on and that it is recorded in all 3 places.

Menu Plan
Shopping List

Plan some blog posts. Not pre writing, just thinking what I want to write about or what memes I want to take part in, and maybe at least WHAT I want to cover in those memes.

Small group prayer and planning

Children's work prayer and planning

Week's to do list

Any remaining time should be used for catching up on any journalling points that I missed in the week, and being REAL with my journal.

My ideal would be to find a coffee shop somewhere. Why do we HAVE TO call them coffee shops, eugh, I want to find a HOT CHOCOLATE SHOP, heehee. Anyway, back to what I was saying, I want to find somewhere I can spend a good few hours on a Saturday morning, go there early, with journal, bible, a few recipe magazines (I usually try to do a week's menu from 2 or 3 recipe magazines/cookbooks), notepad and pens.
Finding somewhere like that around here might prove difficult, so for now I am doing it at home.

GREAT PLAN! So, on Saturday morning, hubby went out around 8am for mens breakfast at church and i set to work. It took me nearly ALL DAY! OK, so we went out to the supermarket in the midst of that, but that must have taken an hour to an hour and a half at the very most. I did not finish this stuff up until sometime around 4pm or a little later. Good grief!

One of the women who I pulled some of these ideas from, goes to a coffee shop at 5:30am, and stays out for 5 hours. hmmm, I have sleep apnoea, I use a CPAP machine, I don't DO 5:30am. I am thinking about when I get around to replacing my mobile phone, about getting one that has easier web access and email, and probably a better plan for those things, too, so that I can do some of the online bits of that plan out at the coffee shop or cafe.

Although, d'you think they might start to lok at you a bit funny after you've sat there for 5 hours?

If you want to participate in What I Learned this Week, head over to the website by clicking on the image at the top of this post.
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