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Holy week is comingMarch 17, 2018

Holy week is coming and I’m genuinely excited.

Holy week with a toddler or preschooler is something special. That story we breath within is still new to them. It’s a dark and deep story but it’s peppered with symbolism and young kids greet symbolism with a beautiful open acceptance.

I had dreaded last Easter unable to travel, but I leaned heavily into the traditions I had, built upon them and ended with the traditions of Orthodox Easter as cultures merged. It turned from dread to joy. As this years Easter approaches traditions are even more important to me. Locally the day has no significance as Orthodox Easter falls on a different Sunday. Outside our door people will walk back and forth to the market as they do every Sunday, businesses will open usual hours.

As I review last year I see someone who dove into holy week pushing the boat out and delving into the stories for each day. Plus, my family came along for the ride. The coins clattered on the floor as we entered the temple, the flames flickered in the oil lamps, the smell of baking and taste of roasted meat brought Passover to our table.

Over on JWL I’ve published my updated Holy week activities that can be used with a toddler or preschooler. If you are a totschool reader you may enjoy the tactile version. LINK

Wishing you all a happy Easter when the time comes.

DescendingFebruary 7, 2018

Humility teaches us that we don’t have to obey our emotions because the only version of reality that matters is God’s.

(H Anderson. Humble Roots: How Humility Grounds and Nourishes Your Soul)

I’ve been on an unwitting journey. As January unravelled into the new year I’ve felt myself unravelling too. Much of the latter part of 2017 felt like hurdles spread over a marathon. I kept up a long slow jog from one event to the next, never quite relaxing into the steady rhythm as I prepared always to lift both feet before the next journeys leg.

In the last 2 weeks I’ve seen hubby find his grove again, he’s working amazingly well, in contrast I’m the picture of lethargy. The energy and strive to find routines that excited only a month ago seems to have drained away living little residue. I can pinpoint only vague causes, quantify the hours doing things that don’t energise me, see the general shift as I struggle to rise from the covers later and later into the morning. I can see the eczema grow it’s way across my pinkie finger, and frustratingly around my eye. And yet as the grey shroud descends I’m not in the least bit worried.

Partly it’s because I’ve spent this slow drift downwards dwelling in books like the one quoted above. Partly because what was holding my head above the water for that long marathon was the expectations and perceived essential tasks that left me sleepless at night and feeling guilty about failing. by letting them fall with everything else I’ve been released from a burden.

This is a time of deconstructing, it’s a time of redefining and refining the accumulated stuff that I’ve horded after all the years here. This is a crucial stage of really hearing ‘the call’ and to do it you have to stop walking ahead and honestly look at where you are and where your heart truly lays.

What are your gifts?
What are your passions?
What call is encoded into your very DNA?

Twee though it sounds, I always wanted to be like my Mum – someone who gave her whole heart to serve, who followed where-ever called, and poured love out on her family. A woman who created a refuge inside our front door, to give beyond what was comfortable, to accumulate wealth in ways no bank account would accept.

Equally I always wanted to create, to craft and share, to make for joy and beauty but for a purpose too. I wanted to stand back and say ‘that is good‘ and if at all possible ‘that is something I give back to the God who gave me all‘.

Those are my passions and those are the building bricks that I’m praying God will choose to use as we, my Lord and I, rebuild out of the rubble in the present dust cloud. During which I hope I, as ‘Humble Roots’ put’s it, “ learn a kind of humility that makes us fearless and productive.

Photo by Rucksack Magazine on Unsplash

The CallJanuary 3, 2018

I lay aside my years word of ‘invest’ with a heavy heart. I’ve not done with it yet, I’m not ready to move on, I’ve not mined it’s depth enough. Yet the year keeps moving and the date changes yet again and somehow I find looking back it’s message seeped into my marrow in a way I’d never expected. ‘Invest’ has lead me to dream of possibilities bigger, risk planting myself firmer, try laying some shaky foundation stones.

Often when we move on we are reluctant to let go because our hands feel empty. In our rush we fill fingers with things that so easily slipped out of grasp. My desk testifies to many a plan embarked upon hardheartedly whose remains litter hopes that one day they will be rescued. As a new year was about to dawn I had yet to choose a word that meant something deeper. Life felt routed but unproductive, I was struggling with the realisation that my language classes where slipping away, my site rarely updated, our nap-times gone I didn’t know how I’d get back into the work I felt drawn to complete. Evening drew and new years plans began around up when I received a donation to my site with an attached note:

Out of no coincidence, I found your site this morning. Praying this allows you to follow God’s call.

It came like a sledgehammer, had I risked losing the plot. I’d been so busy investing my time and energy and hopes in what life had thrown at me had let The Call that first drew me here fade. Yes, yes yes, it was still there, I was still ticking the boxes and striving to serve but not always as the primary drive. I’d disconnected from the whisper that had meandered through the stones of the old fortress as I felt my heart yearn for the city I surveyed, or the roar in the trains and planes and busy motorways that had deposited me onto the soil. My memory was dim to the music of an open heart as gathering after gathering had gently confirmed the heaven sent seed that I’d begun to nurture. Was it time and familiarity or had I placed so much weight upon continuing the journey I’d stopped listening for new directions.

This year I hope that God can rekindle the fire that I once felt so strong. This year I’m going to have my ‘phrase of the year’ be ‘the call‘. It’s not about going or doing or even speaking but a call to actively listen and dare to respond to what you hear. The call is simply something you hear, something you can’t control or direct or even anticipate. I didn’t think I wanted to change my focus from the inward investing but I’ll admit I’m getting rather excited. I’m no longer being called as someone who is in any way temporary, we are praying we have enough resources for a permanent visa, I’m a part of the fabric here now even if my pattern is somewhat unusual I’m bound by time and love and family.

They said, “We will call the girl, and ask her.” And they called Rebekah, and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” She said, “I will.”

Genesis 24:57-58