Thursday, 31 May 2007

Settle the matter

This is a phrase a friend that I love and esteem uses. At one time it used to be on his lips quite a bit (it does have a biblical background) when talking about issues that needed to be dealt with.

I have come to the conclusion that, for me at least, matters don't 'stay settled'.

It's all fine to decide that henceforth one will always assume a particular position, but for me, that always gets eroded. Sure there are things that one has to say "no way" about, but there are many things that aren't absolutes in that way, and I just seem to need to die daily to them. Relax for a little while, take your eye from the ball and sooner or later they rear their ugly heads again.

Very graciously God is letting me go back through the character refinement loop again, letting my weaknesses and flaws rise to the surface again. I need to get some things sorted: my 'wanting and acquisitive' nature is one thing, but there are plenty of others.

It's very easy to see Jesus call to daily take up your cross as being all about terrible suffering, self repression and pressing through under extreme conditions. Here in the west with our luxurious and jaded lifestyle I'm starting to think it means not conforming to that pattern. The positive side? A much greater level of peace and contentment instead of a continual striving for more, greater, better, faster, stronger, larger. It doesn't mean having to be content with abject poverty, but it does allow satisfaction without having to compare oneself with those around us.

Yup, sometimes I even manage to be content.

Tuesday, 29 May 2007


Sorry not to be around much last week. I got buried by work as much as anything.

Everyone that posted - really, THANK YOU very much.

We're OK and picking stuff up again (it feels like we put a bunch of stuff down last week, and now we need to re-shoulder it).

You know, I don't think you ever stop caring for people.

I never wanted a pastoral heart, but I guess it's happening.

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Rich beyond your wildest dreams

always seemed a REALLY stupid concept.

Or maybe just a phrase invented by those deficient in the imagination dept.

Pictures from this morning.

The biggest danger of grief is isolation.

We went back to Sarah’s grave this morning to take pictures of the flowers that people have brought. It is hard to express thoughts and feelings in those situations, particularly if you’re afraid they will upset people you care for. And comfort is difficult to receive because there is no taking away of the pain, sadness and disappointment – the sense of yawning loss.

Deep inside I still have a tight, hot ball of grief, burning away. It’s a place I can find if I want, but with each month it settles a little deeper and the mental tissues around it become more used to it sitting there. I HAVE to determine not to let it shape my life, but instead to be shaped by Jesus hands. That sounds like a lot of pious claptrap, but without His input I’d just have folded up in a ball and let the world roll away.

But yes, isolation is a problem. It’s a little like depression, in that you feel wretched and just want to hide. There’s a selfish quality too, that has to be fought, that makes you feel like the emotions are all there is for you and that you’ve a right to just sink out of sight in them. It can cut you off from those you love and then makes you wonder if there’s a new future out there, discounting the value of what you already have.

So by the grace of God I carry on. Not really a martyr like this makes me sound, but because there is no better way for me to go: for me and those I love and care for. Any other direction would be far worse. And I don’t exactly hide my feelings, so much as let them carry on along a parallel path. Me, but not here, not right now.

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Tomorrow is the 2nd anniversay of Sarahs death

If you're still reading this blog after the last 2 years and came here because of that event then I'd love to know who you are. Can you leave your name in the comments section below this.

We went to her grave again this morning to tidy up and leave some flowers. Liza - thank you very much for the bouquet. We've added some of our own and put them in water. They match Sarah's colours very well.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Well that was an interesting evening after being off sick

I had a call from a good friend, saying he was getting severe abdominal pains. Cut a long story short, Mike is in the process of losing his appendix.

Makes me grateful for 'manflu'.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Sweetness of Married Life - Harmony Central again

A couple had only been married for two weeks and the husband, although
very much in love, couldn't wait to go out on the town and party with
his old buddies.

So, he said to his new wife, "Honey, I'll be right back."

"Where are you going, Coochy Coo?" asked the wife.

"I'm going to the bar, Pretty Face," he answered. I'm going to have a

The wife said, "You want a beer, my love?" She opened the door to the
refrigerator and showed him 25 different kinds of beer, brands from 12
different countries: Germany, Holland, Japan, India, etc.

The husband didn't know what to do, and the only thing that he could
think of saying was, "Yes, Lollipop ... but at the bar... You know ...
they have frozen glasses... "

He didn't get to finish the sentence, because the wife interrupted him
by saying, "You want a frozen glass, Puppy Face?" She took a huge beer
mug out of the freezer, so frozen that she was getting chills just
holding it.

The husband, looking a bit pale, said, "Yes, Tootsie Roll, but at the
bar they have those hors d'oeuvres that are really delicious... I won't
be long. I'll be right back. I promise. OK?"

"You want hors d'oeuvres, Poochie Pooh?" She opened the oven and took
out 4 dishes of different hors d'oeuvres: chicken wings, pigs in
blankets, mushroom caps, and little quiches.

"But my sweet honey ... at the bar ... you know there's swearing, dirty
words and all that..."

"You want dirty words, Cutie Pie? LISTEN UP BIG MAN! SIT YOUR ASS

And...they lived happily ever after. Isn't that a sweet story? --

Today I am mostly

feeling sorry for myself at home, with lurgy.

Another bad night, fuzzy, useless head, aching limbs and joints, green goo and plenty of spluttering and coughing.

That IS different from normal.

Monday, 14 May 2007

Friday, 11 May 2007

Dear Abby (From Harmony Central)

Dear Abby,

I think my wife is cheating on me. I am a working musician and, as you would expect, travel a lot. I have been noticing strange things happening when I get home. Her cell phone rings and she steps outside to answer it or she says, "I'll call you back later." When I ask her who called she gets evasive.

Sometimes she goes out with friends but comes home late, getting dropped off around the corner and walking the rest of the way. I once picked up the extension while she was on the phone and she got very angry.

A buddy of mine plays guitar in a band. He told me that my wife and some guy have been to his gigs. He asked if he could borrow my guitar amp for his gig the following Saturday. That's when I got the idea to find out for myself what was really happening. I said, "Sure, you can use my amp but I want to hide behind it at the gig and see if she comes into the venue and who she comes in with." He agreed.

Saturday night came and I slipped behind my Marshall JCM800 half stack to get a good view. I could feel the heat coming off the back of the amp. It was at that moment, crouching down behind the amp, that I noticed that one of the output tubes was not glowing as bright as the other three. Is this something I can fix myself or do need to take it to a technician?

Very Concerned.

A proper mobile phone.

I always said that there should be a market for a real mobile phone. Well it seems Motorola agree with me.

It has a monochrome display, simple decent size buttons and reasonable length, yet is also thin and light. Battery Life is decent with a couple of weeks standby time between recharges and a few hours talk time. There's a few bits of frippery, but essentially it's just a device for calling or texting people, and that's a good thing. £35 inc VAT SIM free - I ordered one for Chris as a replacement for her 3+ year old seimens.

I should probably get one too, but I don't really do mobile phones except when traveling. I'm not a luddite - I just don't want to talk to people on the phone except when absolutely essential.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

I obviously have an evil and un-redeemed sense of humour.

After the last post I had this image of an old fellow done up in robes and tied to a stake, close to the martyrs memorial at the end of Broad street in Oxford. He's surrounded by brushwood and a large crowd has gathered to watch. As men in Cromwellian style armour draw close, holding burning brands he holds up his hands and says "would you mind waiting just a moment? I'm really not sure about that passage in Luke, and I'd just like to read it again to try to make up my mind. I am not at all sure if it's OK for me to be burnt at the stake."

I find this funny in a dark and slightly unpleasant way.

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Please forgive the expression....

.... but this has been bugging the 'hell' out of me.

there's an attitude I've been coming across a lot recently among educated Christian bloggers that it's more worthy to ask a question in an elaborate fashion than it is to know the answer.

This should have been part of a much larger post, but that's half written and already I'm losing interest.

It frustrates me that people study theology and come away with the tools to generate enquiries seemingly without the ability to find a useful answer. I appreciate that having an answer is anathema to the postmodern thinker, but as Christians we need to do better. Questions are great to help break the ice between people but they don't provide any basis to act off.

"Where shall we eat?"

"Now tell me, what exactly do you mean by 'eat'. And that word 'shall': was that imperative or optional?"


According to Patrick Moore

Womens TV is boring. Maybe there's more to Mens tastes than footie?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Today we were mostly walking

Well, for a couple of hours.

We were almost too late for the bluebells this year. Still looked pretty good from a distance, but up close they'd started to deteriorate.

Anyway, to save space and bandwidth here are links to a few more images from this afternoon.

Image 1 Image 2 Image 3 Image 4

Image 5 Image 6 Image 7 Image 8

Image 9 Image 10 Image 11


Ever have one of those moments?

When you open a cupboard door and recognise a smell inside.

Not a BAADDD smell - just a particular smell.

Moist masonry and plaster board in this case.

The cupboard in question is the larder below our bathroom. The plasterboard ceiling was damp. Further investigation showed that the hot water tank is leaking - disappointing as I only fitted it about 5 years ago. So I've put a catcher under the leaking area and next weekend I'll pull the tank out and replace it.


Sunday, 6 May 2007

I seem to be suffering GAS right now.

by Walter Becker

I've just been

outside, watching my next door neighbour mowing down the daffodils that have stopped flowering.

You're not supposed to do that.

He's a grass-cutter after my own heart.

As for me, I'm being mr. grumpy B*st*rd again. That's apparently normal for me right now. That'll do for now.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

I'm still here.

Just busy and chewing through a lot of stuff.

I'll keep this brief, as I've got to go and collect Chris from running the Somerton polling station.

Just trying to deal with a couple of things right now. I'm struggling with wanting to be up too late, and my lack of obedience is causing issues.

Trying to deal with my racial prejudice - getting angry toward a specific type of white American Christian. Hard to stop it spilling into all kinds of places.

There you go. I've had many, many thoughts, but like the morning mist, shine the sunlight of intellect on them and they just disappear into thin air. Inability to remember and contain understanding is becoming a curse for me in middle age. I now have the analytical tools to unpack issues but cannot find the subject to investigate when I have time to go looking for it!