Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Should we boast about the future?

I have many friends who are discontented with their current lot. They say “when my husband earns more money we’ll get a bigger house”, “when we get the kids off our hands we’ll get a decent car”, “when we retire, we’ll go on a cruise”.
Maybe I boast of the future too as I plan for my sons to go to university, as I  talk about my next holiday or as I look forward to a day off?

James 4 13 Now listen, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money.” 14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. 15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.” 16 As it is, you boast in your arrogant schemes. All such boasting is evil.
 As we trust in God’s provision for the present, we should accept his will for our future. I’m more of a worrier than a boaster, I would really like to be sure of what will happen tomorrow. The uncontrollable uncertainties in my life are waking me up at four am to relive the worst case scenario. I remind myself daily Do not be anxious about anything,

James 4 also says “You do not have because you do not ask God. 3 When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” and that God opposes the proud but lifts up the humble.

I pray that I will be able to ask in humility for what I need rather than for those pleasures that I want And that I may so show an acceptance of God’s plan and purpose in my life that it may be a blessing and help to my friends..

6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4 

Sunday, 17 July 2011

In the world but not of the world...

The visiting pastor last week said that the book of James was a bit like an MOT. Because you know your car is going to be judged you are prompted to check all its parts are in order and put it in order.

The part that James 3 exhorts us to put right is the tongue
5 Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. 6 The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. 

 I feel like I understand that I should be honest and not gossip. Since becoming a Christian I have accepted that my tendency to gossip has been a thorn in my side that I daily bring to the Lord.   But what I really struggle most with is talking to non Christians. I can tell a Christian friend something and I know we will see it the same way. If I tell her someone is struggling, she will pray for them and find ways to support and encourage. But other colleagues, even lovely people sometimes seem to take my words and seize on them for their own purposes. I guess just writing this down has shown me the answer. Once again the gift I most need is that of discernment.

I wrote this before I read Michelle's blog on being a living sacrifice and I feel so encouraged by her words. I pray that this week I may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.

linking up with Hear it on Sunday, Use it on Monday

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Where I'm from...

I am from reading The Famous Five under the covers with a torch, from Mothers Pride white sliced bread and Clarks t-bar school shoes.

 I am from the leafy suburbs, tree-lined streets, suited dads leaving for London at eight every morning, Saturday sounds of lawnmowers, smells of grass and petrol.

I am from the fragrant, thorny rose bed, the shady Willow tree. From feeding the garden birds and knowing them by name. I am from the long hot summer of ‘77 when the earth cracked and the tarmac melted.

I am from finishing everything on your plate (because there are people starving in Africa) and ‘love a duck‘, from ‘ a firm decision in good faith‘, home made Christmas presents and hand knitted clothes. Helen’s Christmas pudding and Dorothy’s frothy 'snowballs'. I am from Uncle Phil, who’s real name was Ernest, paying his rates in old pennies.

I am from the service men who served their country and lived with the consequences and I am from the women who coped.
From land owners in Bishopsgate and farmers who made their fortune driving Hanson Cabs in Notting Hill.
I am from non conformist pastors, baptised in the Nene and from gamblers, losing that same fortune to bookmakers.
I am from the words of Wesley, my chains fell off my heart was free, and from salvation through grace. From the seven readings and the seven carols, sitting cross legged on the floor in the school hall.

I am from London and Lancashire and Leicestershire, I am from roast beef dinners and sherry trifles. From the Head Chef of the BBC, making cakes for Blue Peter, the entrepreneurs of the eighties, creating a restaurant loved by the local community, the Sweet shop in Bournemouth with the brightly coloured jars and little paper bags.

I am from a tin box in my loft, dim curling photos of stern faced ancestors, from Great Aunt Lillian’s polished pie crust table, from the faded sampler on my wall, hand sewn linen on my dressing table.

You knew me before I was born, All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. My past, my present, my future, where I’m from and where I will be.

I read a beautiful poem on DRGT Just Wondering and when I found it was from a template (I didn't even know you could get a poetry template), I decided I would try. Its not perfect, I haven't written anything for thirty years except notes on work stuff and shopping lists. But I did weep over this, so many memories, the sights and smells of childhood, people I haven't thought about in years so it has a certain value to me.

The template is here
Why not have a go?

You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
Psa1m 139 v 16 New Living Translation

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

The home-made Prom dress

In a spirit of thiftiness, I decided to make my own dress to wear as a guest at a High School Prom. We didn't have Proms back in the day, not even a leavers' disco so I was really looking forward to it. And I was hoping to make a dress that would actually fit and be reasonably modest as I am not only petite (actually short) but also two different dress sizes...

I have just got back into sewing. My first project was a loose jersey shift which was well received, from a free Prima pattern, so I thought I was ready for a challenge. But I thought I'd save too much fitting by sticking with jersey and I also avoided confronting my fear of zips.

The pattern was a wrapover, full-length. Somewhat hard to fit, but luckily the stretch jersey helped with that. I managed to get a remnant on ebay of lovely black jersey and I found an old chiffon shawl that was my Grandma's in the loft to add a bit of luxurious sparkle, and as it turned out, to protect me on the windy balcony, where I got a good view of the limos.

the finished dress

And as for the prom...it was very enjoyable. A really lovely rite of passage for the students: a way to say goodbye to their schooldays and schoolfriends and start moving on.

Giant Cocoa Meringues

I saw these in Carluccio’s restaurant and had to go home and work out a recipe. It’s best to weigh the egg whites and then use double the amount of sugar. And of course they’re low fat and gluten free.

200g egg whites (approx 7 medium eggs)
400g caster sugar
12g cocoa powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

  • Preheat the oven to 110c and line two large baking trays with baking parchment.
  • Mix the cinnamon with the cocoa.
  • Set up a double boiler. Put the egg whites, salt and sugar into the top bowl over gently simmering water. Stir to dissolve the sugar. Use a clean hand to check the sugar is dissolved and the mixture doesn’t get hotter than 37c.
  • When the sugar is dissolved, whisk the mixture with a balloon whisk to thick ribbon stage. You need a large bowl and this takes longer than you might expect!
  • Sieve the cocoa mixture over the top. Do not mix in.
  • Using two spoons, take deep scoops of the mixture to get a ripple effect.
  • Drop onto the baking trays to make 12 meringues. They can be as rustic or even as you like. I quite like them rough and uneven. Leave gaps around so they can expand.
  • Bake for two hours,
I have adapted this recipe from the original which you can find with great pictures at The British Larder I wasn't brave enough to put my mixture directly over the heat as they do as I was sure I'd get scrambled eggs.

Friday, 1 July 2011

My First jewellery commission!

czech crystals

My creative friend and I made a few bits for a fund raiser. I made some earrings and some crocheted bracelets.
pink and gold crochet set

The little green crocheted bracelets with the 28 gauge silver wire sold first. Creative friend’s lovely beaded bracelets went well and she also made some great surfer style ones (with what we used to call macramé type knots!)

green  and silver crochet set

And there was of course a pan of Malteser cake which went down well.

Then I got an order, my first, for two more bracelets! I know they’re for charity so priced to sell but I’m still well pleased.

my first commission


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