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The goggle boxFebruary 8, 2017

I’ve noticed a pattern, it’s a sad one and one I’d vowed I’d never fall prey to, but alas I have a kid that totally over-consumes on screen time. In some senses it’s not really surprising. We have more screens per room in this place than we had in the whole house during my childhood. I’ve got the 2 year old who can exit a kids app and happily navigate youtube alone if unchecked. It’s something we are clamping down on.

I’ve always been terrible with screens myself, I feel them suck me in like a huge vortex and all other activity fades. I apparently goggle quite badly and can’t multitask while they are blaring, even silent screens will result in lost conversations. I’m not sure why they are quite so potent to me but it’s not surprising that Adam seems to suffer similarly.

Screens are like the prayer life I’d love to have. That all adsorbing focus, irrespective of time or distraction. It’s been too long since I got ‘lost’ in prayer. I found myself time wasting the other day as I waited for sleep to claim the little man on the other side of the room. I read correspondence, saw the headlines and peered down the rabbit hole of social media until I found my eyes close from frustration and the thought of prayer came. The shame came too, for prayer shouldn’t be a last response for the bored, the forgotten task you left unchecked on your list.

There have been times in the past when prayer was a delight, a refuge and a divine embrace when life seemed too huge. But not lately. Recently my prayer life has been like a long distance phone call, a mix of highlights and pleads, frustrations and forgotten thanks. And really that’s not all bad, sometimes we don’t need a God who is our BFF, prep talk, and crutch. Sometimes. Other times we need to feel that almost tangible hug, that connection you only get after you’ve got past all the small talk, past all the niggles and fleeting affairs, onto the deep stuff. While my prayer life of late has not been absent, it’s not been celebrated or treasured either.

One way I’m combating this is to restart my love affair with the pray as you go daily recordings. I discovered these when I first came to Serbia and they have been ebbing and flowing since, arriving gently and slipping off silently when other activities drown them out. I’ve also discovered that I’m best praying for others, praying over situations conveyed through the webs of murmur and sighs of help. While it’s great to finally be the friend who genuinely prays when she exclaims she will, it’s also not so healthy for my own relationship with the divine to be always turning up with an outside agenda. So I’m going to start writing to God again, pick up my pen and scribble lines, correspondence that is never as one way as it first appears. Hopefully I’ll fill you in on the journey.

Photo Source : Unsplash – Pawel Kadysz

Tonight Santa comesDecember 31, 2016

He’ll arrive in a similar style and with an much magic as he did on December the 25th, but here Santa comes on new years eve. Adam is still blissfully unaware, he’s unconstrained by dates, he had many an unopened present left on Christmas day, the whole shebang means little to his world. As aspects creep in we are deliberating what Christmas will mean to our family. I like the idea that Santa comes on a different day, that the birth of the saviour and the flying reindeer are separated somewhat.

This years Christmas for me was a stripped back affair. Slowly as the years have passed I’ve had to choose what events I’ll keep up with and which will knock my ‘feeling Christmassy’ by their absence. This year for the first in many I had no church family to return to, something that left my pillow damp many a night. There was no nativity, I neglected to even make a crib scene, I sang no carols prior to Christmas day, and entered no church building during advent. On Christmas morning our family entered a strange church with a warm welcome that wiped much fear and lifted more than a few prayers of thanks from my lips.

I did celebrate advent, delving deep into the big story that weaves it’s way through Abraham, Isaiah, John and Mary to the child that flails in it’s straw lined manger. As years pass I find myself clinging more and more to the church year, a calendar of faith that spins with as much certainty as the Gregorian system we use. In a land of multiple calendars, to choose to follow yet another must seem very odd. Somehow it roots me, even if it makes major church celebrations harder to engage with locally.

In just a week we’ll be once again celebrating the saviours birth as the world I grew up in will be reaching day 13 and wiping clean all traces of Christmas. Somehow this elongated season is much closer to the church year than the ‘big day’ concentrated one I was so familiar with. It’s something I’d come to appreciate long before this years word focus, it’s a season where the baby is born and the celebration continues, we are not so eager for him to grow old and walk to Calvary, rather we sit in the moment and like a new mother stare at the gift we have been given.

So 2016 ends. A year I’ve tried to ‘appreciate’, though moments of joy and times of struggle, though things I could control and aspects beyond me. It’s been a great word for the year and one I’ve found much growth in. 2017 dawns and I’ve already chosen the word that will adorn the year – Invest. I want to invest in building our own traditions, invest in the lives of those around me, invest in the objects we keep and the space we keep them in, invest in long term plans and fleeting seconds. But today I’ll sit and appreciate my little world as the new year rings in around me. Happy New year friends.

Image : Designed by Freepik

A two year oldNovember 10, 2016

Last month Adam turned two.

We bought him Lego Duplo which mummy and daddy Adam is having lots of fun with.

I loved Adam’s first birthday party with the hordes of people and the slight chaos of having so many non verbal kids in one room. I loved the homely feel and seeing Adam’s toys being really well used. I loved making decorations and laying the table with the dream of a pinterest worthy spread. It was hard work. This year I couldn’t face it.

Instead we hired a soft play place, got a friend to make a simple cake, and left the staff to run after the kids (for the few minutes they let us out of their sight). I figure he won’t remember so we didn’t need fireworks on the cake (potential scare averted), or party games, or pretty decorations around the house that he’ll probably just wreck. It was bliss and without all the frills of a party to purchase it wasn’t as crazy expensive as expected. I’m well aware this level of ignorance won’t last though.

Now we have a very verbal toddler, with all the associated energy we are having real fun exploring the things toddlers do, like jumping in puddles and pretend housework. Every object is a new word, perhaps 2 and he’s eager to soak them all in. The world is there to explore and discover. Mummy still struggles with the question of nursery, with the lack of peer play, it’s a tough call either way.

And so you’ll find us at the train set, or building blocks. We may be scribbling over pictures beginning with a given letter or dancing about to whatever music comes our way, or no music at all.