social spark Aisling Beatha: March 2013


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, March 27, 2013

Audio of Yesterday's Story

Whether you read the piece of writing I shared yesterday or not, you should check out this audio of it.  Click on the link below the photo to listen.
The backing music is not mine, that came from a cd by Nancy Goudie.  But all the spoken word is me and written by me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Those Feet - The Prodigal Returns

Writing Inspired by The Prodigal Son by Rembrandt 

It was the dirt on his feet I remember.  The dirt ingrained so deep I couldn't imagine it ever coming clean.  The dirt that represented the anguish of his heart, his desperation to “come home”. Yes, it was the dirt on his feet I remember.

I didn't recognize him at first.  I mean, he’d been gone so long we thought he was dead.  But the master, he never gave up hoping, looking, watching for his son to return.  And then, there he was, the master I mean, off and running.  I’d never seen a Jewish master run before, and there he was, grabbing up his robes in his hands and running down the hill.  To whom?  To what?  Why was he running?  And then we saw him, this man that the master had obviously seen approaching, this dirty, unkempt man, who had obviously not been living well.  He looked like a slave, not even a household servant like us, just a slave. His skin burnt from working in the sun, and wearing filthy rags. The sandals on his feet had certainly seen better days, they were only just holding together.  And those feet, those dirty feet, yes, it was the dirt on his feet I remember.

Because as the master reached him he saw the master coming and he threw himself at the master’s feet, but the master had turned already to lead him up the hill toward the house.  And so as he knelt before the master, all I could see of him was his back and the soles of those feet.  That’s when I recognised him.  I KNEW those feet!  I had served this family for many years, I had been there the day this son was born, I had bathed his feet each day when he came in from playing as he grew and then from working in the fields with his Father.  If he cut his feet working in the rougher ground, I was the one who tended to his wounds.  I KNEW those feet.  Well, that and the fact that then I heard him . . .

“Father, forgive me.” It was an anguished cry, that obviously came from somewhere deep inside.  He wasn't going to be polite, he wasn't going to worry about who did or did not hear, all he wanted was to be allowed to come home. “I don’t deserve to be your son, make me one of your hired servants.”

He was asking to be one of us.  To live like this in the house of his father, to be ordered around by his family, and even by some of us?  How could he be willing to live like that, to accept that in the house where he had once been a son?  I didn't understand, and then I remembered his feet, the depth of dirt that was ingrained there spoke of many days walking home, without knowing what would await him.  He must have rehearsed this speech a thousand times.  I could not imagine what he had done while he was away, what he had been through, but I knew that even this, that he was proposing, must be far better than staying away. Or else, how could he suggest such a thing?

But the master did not wait, did not listen to his son’s protestations, maybe he didn't even hear them, because he grabbed his son by the hands, pulled him up to his feet, and he hugged him.  Another thing I don’t think I’d ever seen a Jewish master do before.  He hugged his son in full sight of anyone who cared to look. In full sight of neighbours, family, friends and servants. 

He brought him into the house and pretty soon we were all busy running around bringing things.  Clothes.  Not just clean clothes, but the best clothes, the sygnet ring that signified authority within the household, the fatted calf for a feast.  And then, as the others ran around preparing meat and bread and all the other food for the feast, the master called to me “The sandals, go fetch the sandals, the best ones from my room.”
So I fetched the sandals and I knelt before him as he had knelt before the master, and I took a bowl of water and a cloth and I bathed those feet again, and slipped on the sandals his father had kept specially, and I swore to myself that I would always remember those feet, those dirty, filthy feet.

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Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Prayer Spaces

Next week I will be leading a team that will be holding a prayer space in a local school.  We are rather excited about this opportunity and looking forward to the week.  There is still lots to do to get ready, but I thought I would take a few minutes to share some thoughts with you.

Back in October I shared a post about Why Prayer Spaces, in which I shared some of the history behind the prayer spaces in schools movement as well as snippets from recent reports and a video about prayer spaces in schools.

I also shared a post of some creative prayer space ideas.  Next week, we are only using one of the ideas in that post, the hands, and we will be drawing our hands on large pieces of paper, although for future spaces I would like to invest in a large printed and laminated hand.

Since writing that post I have made a board on pinterest for ideas for prayer spaces in schools and am gathering ideas at an incredible rate.  If you are interested you can check the board out at

So, onto next week.  We will have a variety of prayer stations.  The one we hope children go to first will be the calm zone where through mp3 players and quiet music with a spoken track over the top and the use of glitter calm jars, we hope they will calm down a little from the excitement of a new space and be ready for the rest of the room.

We will have a world zone where children will put post it note prayers onto a large world map on the wall, or pray for a particular part of the world as they put a piece of a world map jigsaw in place.  Next to that will be details of a charity the school supports with a marble run so that the children pray for the length of time the marble runs down the run.  On the other side of the maps will be a table with cress seeds to be sprinkled onto wet paper towels so that they can see their prayers grow over the week as their seeds grow.  This will be connected in to environmental issues.

As we are heading towards palm Sunday, two of our other activities will be using paper palm leaves which a team lovingly cut out last Sunday before church.  First will be a zone where they write down a prayer for someone who is important to them because on palm Sunday we remember the people celebrating how important Jesus was to them.  The other is the BIG QUESTIONS zone where children can write down a question they would want to ask of God and it can be absolutely anything!

And finally we will have a fizzy forgiveness table where children can think about letting go of something someone has done that has hurt or upset them by dropping a fizzy vitamin tablet into a bowl of water and watching it dissolve away.

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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.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Prophetic Crochet?

Yes, I'm serious.  I've seen prophetic dance, prophetic paintings, prophetic writing, so why not prophetic crochet?

First of all, what do I mean by prophetic arts in general.  I'll steal a definition from the author, Matt Tommey.

Every time you create a piece of art, you get the unique opportunity to allow the Father to flow through you by the Holy Spirit to touch the life of the one who is interacting with your work. This process releases the testimony of Jesus through your art – who Jesus is, what he’s done, His presence, Glory, power, grace, mercy and healing – it literally releases the Spirit of Prophecy or the Breath (Wind) of God imparting life to the one interacting with your creative expression. Because the Holy Spirit can work through anything at anytime with any person, your artwork becomes the place where Heaven meets earth – a table of sorts – where the Father waits to interact with people that interact with your art. It’s there that a divine conversation often begins.
So, HOW does that relate to crochet?  This is a piece of crochet I did a few years ago now.  I had actually forgotten about it until it came up in conversation last week so I went and dug it out.

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This came about at a time when a group I was involved in was talking about prayer shawls.  I felt that the Holy Spirit prompted me to make this particular piece when I looked at my yarn stash shortly after those conversations.  I had the black and the metallic yarn, but I had to buy the multicoloured yarn specially.

If you take the piece from left to right as it is pictured here, there is a journey through someone's life.  The prayer shawls we had been talking about were for people facing difficult situations and the black yarn represents that.  The darkness, hopelessness etc.  The light comes in, and fades out and I know in my own situations I have found myself wondering at times why God would give me those glimpses of what could be only to have it all go back to the way it was again.  So, the black and the metallic yarn come in and out, but finally, at the end the multicoloured yarn comes in, first mixed in with the black but then all by itself.  VICTORY!

You see, no matter what kind of creativity a person moves in, I honestly believe God can use it in the way Matt describes in the quote above.  And I am passionate about seeing people released into that.  That Christian art is not just about art with Christian themes, it is about art inspired by the Holy Spirit.

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.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Life As We Know It - update

Back in December I blogged about my father's illness.  At that time he was given days to weeks to live.  He is still with us.  On Christmas eve, the nurses at the hospital managed to get him a bed back in the hospice.  For a few weeks he improved as he fought off the repeated infections he had had while in the hospital.  Then he reached the end of that upswing and continued on the downward journey that the cancer brings.

He wants to go home, but as he lives alone this just will not be possible, so we are currently waiting for an assessment of his care needs which will be followed by a move to a care environment.  Which will take place over in our home town, about an hour's drive from here, because that is where my sister and my dad's girlfriend still live.

My dad

who looks so like his dad,

My dad who is struggling to come to terms with what is happening to him.
My dad who always knew how to have fun, always knew how to challenge us to achieve, always looked to serve others in some way, my dad who is coming to the end of his journey.  I love him and I wish this wasn't happening to him.

It has been hard to get my head around blogging, around putting words on a page, around planning and actioning craft projects and recipes.  It has been hard to think of those things as we have travelled this journey.  It has also been a time of transition for me in my calling, but more of that to come over the next few days.  That, of course, has added to the difficulty in putting words to the thoughts swimming around my head.  All those things I thought I was so sure of have been thrown up in the air and left to fall back down where they will.

So, that's where we are at, right now.  I aim to get back to blogging on a more regular basis, but I needed to start with this, so that you all know where we are at and the reason for any absences.

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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