Friday, 22 March 2013

40 Days of Feasting: A new haircut

I went to a new hairdresser yesterday.
To appreciate the full significance of this you'll need to read my previous post here

Actually I'd been there once before.
They send me a text periodically with offers.
Money is tight and my hair a bit unruly,
so I took them up on the offer of 50% off.

When I arrived they brought me coffee.
In a cafetiere!
On a tray!
And the piece de resistance?
Two of my favourite chocolates.

Hannah, the stylist had cut my hair the last time,
so when she asked what I wanted, I knew she'd do a good job.

As we talked I decided to mix things up a bit.
After 30 years with a side parting and a fringe that sweeps across...
I now have a centre-parting....
And a full fringe....

In my previous post about my hairdresser I wrote in praise of knowing and being known.
But you know sometimes....
Change can be a good thing.
Sometimes it's good to do things differently.

As we approach Holy Week
And the end of my 40 days of Feasting
We're on the verge of change.

This change could be huge.
It could impact more than just us, but our family too.

But you know....?
I think it's going to be ok.

Palm Sunday to Good Friday and on into Easter Day
Brought massive changes for Jesus,
For His family, especially his Mother,
And for his disciples.

The tide turned very quickly from shouts of Hosanna
to Crucify Him!

But ultimately it was ok.
God had it all in hand.
When Jesus sweat drops of blood in the Garden
Asking His Father to change the plan
He knew it would be ok
Agonizing though it was

So He was able to say
I'll do it...
Because I know it's your will for me.

I wonder if God has things he wants to say to me over the next few days?
I wonder if he has things to tell you?
Change can be good.
Trust Him.

PS (Added a day later.)
I saw my Aunty today.
We now have the same haircut.
It's ok because she's cool and only 14yrs older than me.
So much for radical change....

Saturday, 16 March 2013

40 Days of Feasting: Because we're worth it.

I really like Nadia Sawalha.
For those reading who are not from the UK she's an actress/TV presenter/cook.
Maybe that's one of the reasons I like her.
She seems approachable somehow.
You know the kind of person you think you'd like as a friend?
Plus she's got a very dirty laugh
Which is something I really admire in a person!

Anyway, this post isn't just a tribute to her
But to a book she's just released.
The title grabbed me from the start

This is talking my kind of language...
In her first chapter, she talks about the starve, binge, starve, binge phases that have formed most of her adult life.
And one day she decided she had had enough....
No more quick fixes....
From now on she was going to cook, and eat delicious food that would nourish her body.

She writes about her own body.
And she could have written about mine.

My body is an amazing piece of machinery.
It has carried and borne four children.
It created a manna-like life force for my three healthy children
that would be all they required for their early weeks and months.
It nurtured.
It served.
It loved.

And in Nadia's words, it
"had waited patiently for me to stop hating it and punishing it and finally start treating it in the manner it deserved."

I love that.
My body deserves better than the treatment it gets from me.
If my body is a temple, it's going to rack and ruin.

"I am fearfully and wonderfully made." Psalm 139

are fearfully and wonderfully made.

So here's the deal.
Maybe this was where my 40 Days of Feasting was going all along.
(Read original post here )

I am going to heed Nadia's advice.
I am going to cook delicious, nutritional meals which will sustain me.
I will not calorie count.
I will not weigh myself.
I will incorporate *dirty word alert* exercise into my life.

And my first goals are these...
If you're squeamish (or male) look away now
1. For my bras to stop digging in.
2. To be able to keep my belt done up all day without being in agony.
3. To stop needing oxygen every time I climb the stairs.

This is the covenant I have made with my body.
I am God's woman.
He created me.
He has plans that only I can fulfill.
I want to be at the top of my game physically.

Because I'm worth it.
And so are you.

I quite like this photo.
But it's not how I want to look!

Saturday, 9 March 2013

40 Days of Feasting: On Doing it Anyway

They say you learn something new every day.
I was about to blog about the 'Do It Anyway' Poem.

People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.  
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.  
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies. 
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. 
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. 
Create anyway.
If you find serenity and happiness, some may be jealous. 
Be happy anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. 
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. 
It was never between you and them anyway.

And I was going to attribute it to Mother Teresa
She wrote it

But I'd always thought that too.
She had it on her wall in Calcutta
And it's usually attributed to her.

But today I discovered this:

The Paradoxical Commandments
by Dr. Kent M. Keith
  1. People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
    Love them anyway.
  2. If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
    Do good anyway.
  3. If you are successful, you win false friends and true enemies.
    Succeed anyway.
  4. The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow.
    Do good anyway.
  5. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.
    Be honest and frank anyway.
  6. The biggest men and women with the biggest ideas can be shot down by the smallest men and women with the smallest minds.
    Think big anyway.
  7. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs.
    Fight for a few underdogs anyway.
  8. What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight.
    Build anyway.
  9. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them.
    Help people anyway.
  10. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth.
    Give the world the best you have anyway.

And actually it fits in really well with my thinking.

I was going to tell you that I try and live by the 'Do it anyway' guidelines.
I may be misunderstood
moaned at
or feel side-lined
but I should do it anyway.

It's not about me.
It's about Him.

But sometimes I get fed up of being misunderstood, moaned at and side-lined.
It upsets me.
It makes me angry and frustrated inside.
But all the while I know that sometimes life's like that.
Especially for followers of Jesus.

And sometimes I feel like Peter in the Bible
"How many times?"
Isn't it enough by now?
I have to forgive?

Yeah I know.
I don't have to hold it all inside.
The Healer waits to take it from me.

But with every healing there is a scar.
And sometimes the scar really itches!

So I guess my point is this:
Doing it Anyway is difficult.
Sometimes impossible.
It's filled with 'oughts' and 'shoulds'.

But I forget, that if I am loved unconditionally,
then so are the people who misunderstand, moan and side-line me.

And one final thought
Mother Teresa seems to have based her poem on Dr Keith's work.
She has re-written it slightly and made it more spiritual.
But I wonder how he feels about it?
Does he rejoice that it is more widely known than he could ever envisage?
Or is he a bit miffed that someone else gets the glory?

Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. 
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God. 
It was never between you and them anyway.

Thursday, 7 March 2013

40 Days of Feasting: On going through the process

I love the way God works.
Take today for instance.

I've been tired
Well fed
Teaching piano
Prayed for

And did I mention tired?

So I escape up to bed.
And I write all the questions I have in my journal.
There are some biggies
It's been that sort of day.

And as I transfer the thoughts whirling around my head
onto the page
I start to breathe again

And I note some scripture about peace.

I read the verse that just happened to be on today's calendar.
About seeing things as in a glass darkly.

Then I look at the blogs that have come through to my inbox today.
And guess what they're about?

Peace in the storm.
Trusting those in authority (interesting, that one...!)
Bringing my broken pieces to the God who has promised to put them back together.

And finally Jehovah-Jireh
The God who provides
But who often feels like a last-minute God
A bit like that ebay app that posts your bid at the very last second.

God isn't known for giving instant answers.
But he meets us where we are
Takes us by the hand
And helps us discover truth
In the space we inhabit.
I love him for that.

Monday, 4 March 2013

40 Days of Feasting: On Days like today

Today is the kind of day that you imagine a perfect English Winter day to be.
A beautiful blue sky
And sunshine

View from my window this morning

On days like today

I feel like I could do anything.

I feel bright




Take me to Black Rock in Derbyshire and I'd absail down it all over again.

My 'absolutely terrified' face

I wish they could bottle days like to day.

Or at least the kind of feelings they bring.

Perhaps they have.

But that would take me down a different road altogether.

As I was driving to see my mentor this morning
I thought of the question I'd heard at big Christian Gatherings;

"What would you attempt for God if you knew you couldn't fail?"

The thing that came to mind for me was


It's the next step for me after a year out of the pulpit.
It's my biggy.

It's also one of the things I love most about Christian leadership and ministry.

And if I'm honest I've got the itch.
I'm not quite chomping at the bit
But almost.

When I abseiled 70ft off Black Rock last June I was terrified.
I had to go second or I wouldn't have done it.
The adrenaline that kicked in at the top
Left me a gibbering wreck at the bottom.
But somehow I did it.
And I have the photos to prove it.

Do you know what I realised today?
The dread....
The fear....
The anxiety....
That has accompanied the most simplest of tasks for me in the past 12 months...

It's gone.

"Trust me" God said to me in March 2012.
And now
On this beautiful blue sky day
I see that it's almost come full circle.

"See God has come to save me,
I will trust in him and not be afraid.
The Lord God is my strength and my song;
he has given me victory."
Isaiah 12:2

That's me at the top!