Remembering…

At 10.30 a.m. today, I’ll be gathering with pupils from local schools, representatives from Girlguiding, The Scouts, The Boys Brigade, The Police and many other members of the Corstorphine community as we prepare to pay our respects for those who made the ultimate sacrifice in wars at the local Cenotaph.

At 11 a.m. we will salute, and come hail, rain or shine stand in silence for 2 minutes as we remember them.

I will remember my grandfathers who fought in the war. I will remember my Nana who used to be on patrol during the Blackout in London before she married and moved to Scotland. I will remember my Great Aunt and Uncle who were evacuated as children from London and sent to live with a horrible family in Wales (they tried to run away with some other children by following the railway track back to London but not surprisingly the grown ups caught up with them fairly swiftly – just as well as they’d underestimated the length of the walk and I think they only had a packet of sweets between them for sustenance!) I will also my Great Uncle who also survived World War 2, and recently died. When I met him 6 years ago, he told me of our relative who survived World War I only to drown yards from home as the yacht bringing him home sunk on the coast of Stornoway on Hogmanay. I now know this man was my great, great grandfather – pictured here a couple of years before his death on the HMY Iolaire. His death left my teenage great-grandmother an orphan.

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The video below was made by a Canadian, but for me it brings home some of the reality of the wars we have thought (as Britain and Canada have fought together as allies). One of the most poignant pictures being the army medic treating a small boy, with the medic’s hat on his head – the army medic looks no more than a boy himself.

Learning also this year, the role that the Girl Guides played before and after war (we were trained to try and prevent war buy bringing friendship amongst those from other countries, and trained to be able to help with the recovery effort through war years ready for the war ended). The incredible tales of Girl Guides from all over the world during World War 2 has been beautifully put together in this book by Janie Hampton.

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I hope that the girls I lead will never have to experience the terrors of war, but I also hope if the people leading our country go to war ever again, we too would be the peacemakers and healers, and have courage to keep going and boost morale under oppressive regimes.

Ohana

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Ohana means family. Family means nobody gets left behind – or forgotten

-Lilo & Stitch

4 years ago, I went on holiday to Cornwall with two families I wasn’t blood related to. One family I had only met a couple of times I think. The other, I had built a friendship with through our connection to an Edinburgh church, back then known as MBC.

When I lived in Aberdeen, most of us were far from blood related family. That’s what happens when you move away to work or study in another city. I loved being part of a church family that was a mix of ages, though our church was fairly ‘young’. After I began to get over the scars of teenagehood, and began to really have confidence in who I was, I settled in well. When I got my flat and my beloved Cassie the Corsa, even more so because I felt like I was no longer just a student turning up to be provided for. I was able to give too. I would babysit for families who lived a bit further away from where I lived. I gave people lifts to/from church. I provided transport to camps and retreats. I drove people to/from hospital so many times one of the paramedics thought I worked in A&E (I did actually work in the hospital sometimes, but as a clerical worker filling in for staff on holiday).

It was tough to leave that and have to build it all over again in Edinburgh. And even tougher to do it in a city where you hadn’t gone through the student or married with kids lifestyle where there were automatic options available to you.

4 years ago, I felt accepted as a single person by these families who allowed me to holiday with them – and not treat me like a leper!

That week, we brought DVDs, and being that my friends love surfing I was astounded that they hadn’t yet seen Lilo & Stitch. Miss Sweetroot and her Mum watched it for the first time that week, and I think it was that Christmas or the one after that Miss S used gift money to buy a Stitch with a Santa hat. I still have the picture of her with it on my workphone!

This week I’ve been reminded of ohana.

There are many very close friends, who are closer to me than my blood relations. They are my family. They are my ohana.

These are the friends who have kept me in their lives, and I have in mine despite being in different life stages. Many are now married with children. Some are single like me.

On Friday, I travelled on the train to my friends’ home. Friends I’ve known now for 12 years (scary biscuits) when we met in halls of residence. They have a baby, and I did not know it until later, but I was to become the first non-blood relative to look after their precious 5 month old daughter (Princess Monkey) while they weren’t in the house. After I returned, I headed over to my other friends’ home where I was staying the night. One of them is away at a surfing competition this weekend, and so the other didn’t miss out on a class she is taking in theology on Saturday mornings, I looked after their two children. In turn, my friend generously gave me a lift into town to get to the Guide Shop (meaning I don’t have to go on Monday so *hopefully* I can write an assignment), and she is letting me come with them to church service tomorrow.

These are the people who I would (and do) call in a crisis. These are the people who know all my dirty laundry. These are the people who I’d want to scare off any guy who wanted to try and marry me but treat me poorly. These are the people who I love to celebrate with. These are the people who I trust to make sure that when I die folks aren’t wearing black and singing hymns to an organ at my funeral. These are the people who kick up the butt and tell me I should be studying!

These are the people who I want to call me in a crisis. These are the people whose secrets I hold close. These are the people I want to encourage. These are the people who I am protective of. These are the people whose birthdays I love to celebrate because I’m so grateful they were born. These are the people who I’ll be grieving if they die before I do, but be thankful that I knew them because of the memories we’ve made together. These are the people who I am most honest with and I hope they feel they can be honest with me.

These are the people who I would trust my children with. These are the people who can come into my messy house, and I into theirs – because quite frankly it doesn’t really matter. They take priority over work or university.

Ohana is very important to me. It means more than blood. It is more about love and sharing lives warts and all.

Build Ohana.

And remember…

Nobody gets left behind…

…or forgotten.

What is ohana to you?

Listening to the still small voice (that makes you seem nuts)…

I was at my friend’s birthday party the other week, and  I ended up talking to this lady who goes to Central, and halfway through our conversation she commented ‘You really do a lot of praying, don’t you?‘.

Um. Yes. Yes I guess I do.

However, recently, God has been reminding me that just talking at Him is not really being a woman of faith. And I think he noticed that I wrote on my blog that I hoped getting a tattoo would end the nuttiness. *insert sound of God laughing here*. He’s been testing my faith and my ability to listen to Him with the small things in life and in the last two weeks my friends have laughed with me as I’ve shared these two mundane stories…

It all starts with a camper van. Actually. That’s not true. It really began 4 years ago with some toys, 2 cards, a camera, good food, sunshine which led to giddiness, hilarity and conversation

So it actually wasn’t long after that, my friends Brisaac & Lady V began Soul Surfers. We had a few beach days, got involved in some Surfers Against Sewage beach cleans and this camper van called Davina started making an occasional appearance. We fell in love with Davina – which is a big thing since my love of VW had to compete with my in built dislike of things that are Hibs/Celtic colours.

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The main dude behind Davina, a man named Steve, went off to become a Pastor of a church in the west, and poor Davina was left without people to help fulfil her purpose in life.  However, her owners very kindly agreed to let Soul Surfers use her whenever we wanted. Granted, she’s spent some time in the garage because she needed a part and it was tough to find so we couldn’t take her out for a while, but still. We’re now able to use her, and she’s taken our ‘stoke to broke’ friend and others out for picnics and hopefully she’ll be making a trip to Dunbar for a beach day soon.

My friends had asked me to pray because they really want to do what Steve used to use Davina for. They asked other friends to pray too. And then, when we heard Davina was being put up for sale, they asked us all to pray about whether or not they should buy Davina.

Of course! I said. Praying was what I apparently do a lot of after all.

And so, one day a few weeks ago, sitting on the top deck of the airlink bus, I chatted to God about it all. And text my friend about what I thought God was saying to me. I did not text her the second part of what I thought God was saying to me, because I thought ‘that’s a bit weird, and it’s probably my subconsious dislike of green and white‘.

What did I hear in my head that I didn’t share with my friend?

Look out for the blue van‘.

Aye. Whatever God. There’s no blue van.

And so God and I (in my head) argued back and forth about sharing this second part with my friend. By this time I was off the bus and walking up Cockburn Street. I told myself I was hearing things. But the little voice persisted. Look for the blue, look for the blue. I seriously questioned my sanity.

Until, out the corner of my eye I saw something in a shop window. A blue camper van. In bag form.

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I stopped and stared, laughed, and took a step to walk on, but I just heard this voice again. You need to buy that bag. I sighed, and went in and asked the lady in the shop

Hi, can I ask you how much that bag in the window is?

She went and checked – it was £38. Ok. It was £37.99. But still. For a bag?!

I walked around the shop to see if I could find a blue camper van magnet, mug or something you know…cheaper. I got the feeling that I was to buy some kind of ‘souvenir’ for my friends in relation to their camper van dream and thought surely a keyring would do just as well. I couldn’t see anything. Which was weird, because I’m sure that shop normally has a whole section of VW stuff! I was about to walk out, really knowing deep down that my gut instinct was telling me (ok, God was telling me) to buy that bag for my friends. But why? Surely God would want me to give money to the homeless? Build a school in Kenya or Haiti? Not buy a overpriced bag that looks like a blue VW Camper van.

And I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but I’m the girl who can’t afford to rent a flat or keep a car. The last bag I bought was a small rucksack that cost about £11 because my old one was literally disintegrating. I don’t think I’ve ever spent more than £25 on a bag. A suitcase, yes. A bag, no.

Sorry God, I don’t really have the money to buy that bag

I started making my way out the shop, and stopped dead in my tracks when God responded

Do you  really think that I can’t provide you with the £38 to buy that handbag? If you don’t have faith that I can provide for that handbag, why do you believe I can provide your friends with a camper van?

Ouch. Game, set and match to God.

And so after wandering in another circle for another second, I went back up to the counter.

Hi, I’m really sorry, I’m not sure if I need a psych ward or a church, but I think God is telling me to buy that camper van bag for my friends. Could I please buy it?

And continued waffling to the girl about how it was weird I was praying about my friends who had asked me to pray about this camper van, and then I thought I heard a voice telling me about a blue van, and then 30 seconds later I saw this bag in the window…

The girl laughed awkwardly. I’m pretty sure she thought I was off my rocker.

I don’t really blame her.

I later texted my friend to say…um…I have something to give you. Will explain later.

I’ll be honest folks, I have no idea why I was to buy that bag. I think it was to show some kind of trust and faith and to remind us to have faith for Him to provide for their camper van vision.

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But oh, the little voice stories didn’t end there. A couple of weeks later, I was leaving church. I had planned to stay in the city centre to run some errands and meet up with my friends from high school. The night before one friend had cancelled and I hadn’t heard from the rest. As I walked into town, I was grumpy and thought about just jumping on a bus at the West End and going home instead. But that little voice spoke to me again – and told me I should stay in town.

I was still grumping as I walked down the road. As I reached Princes Street some other friends text me  to say they were heading to the beach – did I want to join them? Joining my friends at the beach sounded much more fun than staying in town on my own. But even as I text back with my ‘yes’ I had that nagging feeling that I should stay in town.

I ignored it.

It was past 1 p.m. by this time, and I was hungry, so after running my errand, I decided to get some food. I had the choice of running to Subway – on my way to my meeting point with them, or walk further along to Marks & Spencer. I was about to decided on M&S and ask my friends if they wanted me to get something, but again that wee voice said ‘don’t text’. I did my phone in pocket, phone back out of pocket dance, and decided they probably would say ‘No, we’re fine’ and it would take me longer anyway. So I obeyed the small voice this time and went to Subway.

And as I was standing in the queue, I looked up and realised the woman in front of me looked vaguely familiar.

It was my baby sister (my 22 year old baby sister). Who I hadn’t seen in a year. Who’s boyfriend’s plans had made her cancel on our scheduled dinner 2 days before when she let me know she was back in the UK (I hadn’t been too chuffed about that).

After commenting on ‘how freaky’ it was, I got on the phone to my friends and asked them if they’d didn’t mind me not coming to the beach after all (I apologised later for saying yes in the first place). They were lovely about it, and I spent a few hours with my sister where she told me she was moving to a country in the continent of Africa.

As I went home, I understood why that still small voice was telling me not to go home quite yet… :)

That is how I’ve been challenged recently – to listen to the ‘still small voice’. Because really, something that seems trivial could turn into something greater for all I know. You think I would have learned by now that obeying and listening – even when it seems strange (like seeing visions of women dressed in red and hearing words in other languages I don’t understand) – could lead to more than I think it will.

I’m still learning that lesson though.

And the new year has begun…

Sunshine PandaThe new year has begun, and the last few days have been surprisingly action packed! I brought in 2013 wearing as much of my favourite colour as possible – purple shoes, purple dress, purple eyeshadow, purple nail varnish (which has dyed my fingernails a wee bit…oops). And it was lovely bringing in the New Year with my Mum and a bunch of lovely friends. No drama. No pressure. I realised just as we were leaving that I’d not had a drop of alcohol. I’m not a big drinker, but I had planned on having a gin at the bells – and ended up having shloer (fizzy grape juice that looks like champagne in the right glass!) to better ‘match’ everyone’s fizz! And then I forgot all about it. I spent £10 on a bottle of gin to have a few tipples over the holidays and it’s still unopened. ha ha! Just as well it doesn’t really go off.

The 1st day of January we were determined to get out of the house. Last year I was so grateful to have the Soul Surfers beach walk to force me out of my bed and wake me up on New Year’s Day. There had been no beach time organised this year, but my friends informed me that for once ‘Dogmanay’ had not been cancelled. And so we went off in search of the event in Holyrood park (trying not to get runover by cyclists doing the triathlon) and cheered on the dog sled teams!

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And then on our final bank holiday – affectionately known by LFS community as ‘Coomanay‘ (because all ‘holidays’ need a name more original than ’2nd Jan’, my university friends Sam & Joanie invited me to go to the zoo with them. Sam actually is a high school friend too, and was in the year above me. I jokingly refer to him as my honourary big brother given than he and the 2 other guys in the year above  became really good friends of mine when we all went to uni and stayed in halls together. I was a year younger and they had my back. I really appreciated them for that! The big deal was that I FINALLY got to see the famous Pandas. We were super lucky that we got a good view of both Sunshine AND Sweetie, as depending on where they are or how they are feeling (Sunshine suffers from colic and has been ill a few times) you don’t always see them both. Sunshine even woke up from his nap and started wandering about. They have separate enclosures – both indoor and outdoor. They were indoors when we were in. Sam & Joanie very generously organised and paid for the tickets (they are both Zoo members) and would not let me pay them back. I eventually gave in and accepted one of the best presents ever. I was very excited and may have been caught doing a dance singing ‘We’re going to the see the Pandas‘ and bouncing a lot before we’d even got through the doors. We saw the lions sleeping in their den too, and Sam walked away from Joanie and I when our response to seeing this was to start singing ‘In the jungle, the mighty jungle the lion sleeps tonight...’ followed by ‘in the zoo, in Edinburgh Zoo the lions sleep tonight‘.

Sweetie Panda

 

I hadn’t long been back from the Zoo though when we got a phone call to say that my Auntie had been in a car accident and was being taken to hospital in an ambulance. After lots of confusing phone calls which left us with lots of questions, anxiety and worry, I was called upon to retrieve Oliver the dog. Oliver had been in the car accident too, and the police had taken him to a police station about a 20 minute drive away. Unfortunately there had been ANOTHER car accident on the same stretch of road, so I got stuck in a traffic jam behind the accident (unsure if it was my Auntie’s accident or a different one) and realising I had no clue how to transport a dog. Thankfully some (safely made) calls to friends gave me helpful tips and advice and Oliver was fine on the drive to my Auntie’s home. Even if he did set off the seatbelt alarm a few times! The police seemed disappointed that I’d come so quickly as I think he’d become a novelty star in the police station. They were fantastic and super nice. So appreciative of all the emergency services! And very glad to say my Auntie is ok, and was able to be discharged a few hours later.

Today has been a lazy day. I had great intentions today of achieving many dull tasks like laundry, going to the supermarket and cleaning. None of this happened. What I DID manage to do was book tickets for me, my Mum & 4 friends to go and see Matilda in London’s West End in April. Can’t think of a better way to spend my last few hours as a 28 year old.

So all in all, I’m happy to have ticked something off my to-do list (seeing the pandas) and made steps to ticking another thing off my to-do list (seeing Matilda). Now I just need to hear good news from the plumber and hear back from the joiner re: to my Aberdeen flat and all will be well.

 

 

Spectacular Tumbling

On Friday morning, I got up with the knowledge that I could spend the day in my pyjamas and that my Mum was on her way back from the United States. Her best friend lives in Edmond, OK so she’s usually stateside every 12-18 months!

When I got breakfast, my stepfather informed me ‘your Mum fell at the airport, apparently she had to get a wheelchair to the plane‘. At that point we didn’t know which airport, how bad etc! It turns out that she’d done a bit of shopping with her friend taking advantage of the bargains to be found in USA (pretty much everything in the USA is cheaper than it is in the UK) and a pretty pair of shoes she bought didn’t fit in her suitcase. So she decided to wear them home. They were heels.

A changeover at Chicago O’Hare, a wet marbled/tiled floor and the heels = disaster!

My Mum took quite the tumble, and she refused paramedics (she was terrified of what she could end up being charged at an American hospital) and so they wheeled her onto the plane. And the Air Stewards were pretty amazing, moving her to a better seat and getting ice packs on her shoulder. (Thank you American Airlines – you are stars!!). She got a mixed service at Heathrow – a grumpy and totally crap wheelchair driver at Terminal 3 and a fabulously lovely Indian lady at Terminal 5 who was kind to her and made sure she got all the way to the plane.

When she arrived home my faithful frozen peas came out to ice her ankle (she was afraid to take her shoe off so it didn’t get any first aid until she got home!) and looking at her shoulder and the amount of pain she was in I ordered a trip to Minor Injuries. Diagnosis: one sprained ankle, one sprained shoulder. How she managed to sprain limbs on opposite sides from each other is a mystery I’ve yet to solve…

They took x-rays said she needed to come back on Monday (today) and she has been hobbling about and crying in pain from her shoulder all weekend. Today she got another x-ray and they think that the shoulder is worse than they first thought and might be fractured.

Of course, now Sarah (who I work with) has just left to go to the USA for 3-4 weeks so I’m managing the centre alone and my stepfather is about to leave for work for his fortnight off-shore. My best friend is trying to clear out her house before her family moves to Eyemouth in a few weeks. And my car doesn’t work! My Mum can’t drive and will likely be needing visits to hospital for more check ups and physio (depending on whether they can decide on what the damage to her shoulder is).

We could definitely use your prayers… my Mum especially.

Pray they diagnose her shoulder correctly (a misdiagnosis could do a lot of long-term harm).
Pray for us to come up with solutions for getting her to/from appointments while her husband is away.
Pray we’d have patience.

Thanks everyone!

28

Yep. It’s true. I am definitely edging closer to the big 3-0 by the day. Yesterday was the anniversary of my birth, and to be honest I wasn’t expecting much from it. The weather this week has been proper MINGING and BALTIC (as we say in this Northern land). A lot of my friends were away. The builders are still in, and we can’t remember what colour the remaining carpets used to be. I’ve been locked out twice this week as builders have left our spare key in the front door so our keys wouldn’t work and I think all our staff and volunteers at the centre have made a mass Easter exodus!

The day began with my Mum bursting into my room singing Happy birthday and scaring the builders by pretending to be in labour (a tradition she started when I was 14). She points out that they were laughing about it. I point out that she is the one paying their wages right now. ;) And the builders played the ‘Guess what age you are’ game. Apparently I don’t look old enough to be my age.

But I knew that already.

And it’s great when you like to act like a big kid!

The sun shone all day. The sun was shining even as I de-iced my car to head over to my doctor’s surgery, where (thankfully) I was greeted by the friendly non-crazy nurse. And sooo thankful that this was not one of the days where I had to get my blood pressure and weight checked before I got my tri-monthly injection!

From there it was Sainsbury’s where my Dad amused and confused me by ringing and hanging up a number of times before finally getting a grip on the technology so he could play this tune down the phone to me. Let’s just say here that my Dad coming through with a card for me the night before my birthday and then calling on my birthday is some kind of miracle in itself. I haven’t heard from my Dad on my birthday since I turned 24 and it was days before he left the country without leaving any kind of forwarding address. So that was special. Even if it was while I was standing in the vegetable aisle at the time.

In the afternoon I headed over to my friend’s house. I was expecting a wee catch up, but hiding behind her kitchen worktop were our friend Vicky and her daughter (Miss S) and son (Mini Kahuna). They had made me a huge chocolate birthday cake with cream and raspberries in the middle, homemade biscuits and Kathy’s A-MA-ZING chocolate brownies. And they’d hidden mini Lindt bunnies all around the house for me to find. So I hid mini chocolate easter eggs around the house for them to find while I was searching for bunnies.

And then we danced on the Wii, and threw easter eggs around Kathy’s living room because the Mini Kahuna thought it was fun game.

And if anyone asks, it was totally the Mini Kahuna who started the game.

I would never do such a thing.

Obviously.

Ahem.

(It was my birthday!!!)

In the evening a few of my friends and my Mum went for a meal to a restaurant that doesn’t serve pasta. Because I’m suddenly remembering that automatical response I had to pasta when I was pregnant again. I am now so sick of pasta that the thought of eating it makes me feel sick. Seriously.

I think it’s going to be a while before I’ll be able to eat pasta.

I came home and opened gifts from my friends – I’m not a person that expects gifts at all. I always feel guilty accepting gifts – I don’t know why, and it’s one of the things in life I’m ‘working’ on. Beautiful flowers, favourite chocolates, vouchers for the shops I most often shop in (I love getting vouchers!), funky books, gifts that I think travelled all the way from India and the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook (bring on our new oven!!!).

But perhaps the best gift ever was a text that came in the afternoon announcing that my friend had given birth – a little girl who shares a name with me (coincidentally – I know it was a name her Mamma really liked!!) and born on 5th April too! Yay!

Tomorrow, I’m spending the day with my favourite April baby – my godson  - and his little brother (he’s my favourite February baby) – and we’re going to watch Cars 2. Appropriate as my godson is getting a Lightning McQueen themed dressing up outfit for his birthday gift from me. But apparently I need to learn who Francesco is. And I’ve been assured that my honourary nephew is going to be able to introduce me!

Meanwhile this godmother is trying to work out how I fill my spiritual parental duties by somehow linking Cars 2 to the Easter Story…

:)

Curiosity may get me in trouble from my friends…

One thing is for sure, I think I’m discovering why there are so many ‘Mommy bloggers’ out there in the blogosphere. Kids sure provide you with much to write and think about. Sorry to say that not much to blog from last weekend when Mr Teapot turned 2 – but check out my friend’s creation for the event (totally homebaked from scratch!). The best part was the fact that it was chocolate cake inside.

The only downside – my jeans got literally ‘caked’ with Thomas. And I didn’t notice until I went to put my jeans on to go to church on Sunday morning. Ha ha!

However, last night was one of those nights that I had one of those potentially corrupting children moments. Several of them in fact, complete with a classic BK style malteser moment. It all began as me & Miss Sweetroot were watching a DVD of her dance show from a couple of years ago. We’re talking about the dances, and the dance teachers we’ve had. Then out of the blue she just asks:

“Do you have a job?”

I of course answer “Yes

This is of course followed up by the key question: “What do you do for your job?”

Panic sets in. This is my friend’s only just turned 7 year old daughter. I’m pretty sure they have not had ‘the talk’ with her at this point in her life. I’m definitely sure the subject of people getting pregnant when they don’t want to be pregnant has never been talked about because she has only known pregnancy as something to be celebrated and excited about. I’m now wishing I’d become a teacher. Teacher would be an acceptable self explanatory answer to this question that my friend’s daughter would already know about. Pregnancy counsellor and teacher of sex education? Even amongst adults in the pub this answer can be quite the conversation shocker.

I think my answer was quite honest (and hopefully not going to get me killed by her parents!)

Well, I help people who are pregnant, and some Mummies whose babies went to heaven while they were still in their Mummy’s tummy before they got to be born“.

At this point I’m praying that this will be acceptable answer for her.

It seems to be.

She tells me of someone she knows whose baby went to heaven while it was in their tummy. But then she asks me the toughest question of all:

Why does God let the babies go to heaven before they get to be born?

Thankfully my truthful answer of “I don’t know” is acceptable. (Phew. Because I really don’t know.)

Later I take her up to bed and I read her a bible story (Jonah and the big fish), and she reads me a story (Chip & Wilf’s Arctic Adventure). We’ll skip the part where I had to climb up to her bunk bed and in the process caught my scarf with my leg, almost knocked myself out and fell in ungracefully into a pile of stuffed toys. We chat to God together for friends we know on holiday (prompting a question about whether they have sharks in Morocco in case our friend gets his arm bitten off while surfing like Bethany Hamilton).

I’ve no sooner gone downstairs, when I hear little creaks and footsteps outside the living room. I’m reading ‘Father Fiction‘ by Donald Miller.

What is that book about?

It’s about people who grew up without having Daddies” I say.

“How does that happen?” she asks.

And let’s just say that for the next 20 minutes we have lots of chats about half-siblings, step siblings, step parents, how some people’s Daddys might go away by choice and others don’t, and whether the Mummy of mine she’s met before is my ‘real Mummy’ and how I have lots of brothers and a sister but we don’t have the same parents.

Thankfully, when my friends came home and I told them these stories, they did laugh. And they told me that when she starts asking how babies are made, they are going to tell her to ask me instead.

I really hope my friends are joking. (You are kidding, right?!)

Anyway. All this to say that I’m back in the business of corrupting children. Or trying not to corrupt them. These conversations are definitely up there with the time when Miss S asked me about why I had two earrings in each of my ears.

And I now realise I’m officially getting too old to try and climb onto bunk beds.

:)

 

The Giant Stuffed Koala reloaded

So it was Australia Day this week, and I changed my profile pic on facebook to this picture (as I’ve done for the last 2 years on Australia Day).

My Mum’s response?

please do not bring a koala that size home. No room.

My retort?

I’ll just have to get a house in Australia for it then. ;)

My Mum has a fear of me moving ‘too far away’ (note to blog readers, when I chose to go to university 2.5 hours away you might have thought I was moving to the ends of the earth). So she backtracked..

No need we can put him in the hut and let him eat the hedge instead.

I’m wondering if the builders can put in some eucalyptus in our garden. To replace the hedge. And then at some point I’m going to have to get a giant stuffed koala from Sydney to Edinburgh.

24 days of Christmas: All I want for Christmas is… (by Lori)

 

Lori Wilhite serves alongside her husband, Jud who is the Senior Pastor at Central Christian Church in Las Vegas. They have two kids Emma and Ethan, and the world’s cutest bulldog, Roxy. She loves Starbucks chai tea lattes and is slightly Jane Austen obsessed. Lori is the founder of Leading and Loving It: Connecting, Encouraging, and Equipping Pastors’ Wives and Women in Ministry. 

All I Want For Christmas is… a bowling ball

I remember running into our living room, wearing flannel pajamas with some major bed-head happening.

I rounded the corner, excited to see what was under the tree …

A bowling ball.

My parents had gotten me a bowling ball.

A marbleized-purple bowling ball.

Now, to fully understand the incredibly irony of me and a bowling ball, a little description is necessary:

1. I’m the girl who wears heels to walk to pick up my kids at school.

2. Feet freak me out. Seriously. The thought of me putting on someone else’s sweaty bowling shoes is … well … kind of laughable.

3. I don’t have an athletic bone in my body. Not a one. I fall on a daily basis. I run into random objects often. And have broken my ankle by running … just running.

4. To say I have incredibly limited upper body strength is an understatement.

So, here I was … my little sting-bean arms jutting out of my PJs … staring at that purple bowling ball under the tree.

And I loved it.

Maybe it was of all of the excitement of Christmas morning. Maybe it was because I loved my crazy parents. Maybe it is because you could give me a gum wrapper and if you said it made you think of me, I’d love it.

Maybe it is because, in the end, the relationships are far, far more important than the gifts under the tree … or the not-so-perfect holiday meal … or Christmas morning chaos.

In the midst of all the hustle and bustle, stress and anxiety, we can tend to overlook the most important pieces of the holiday … really the most important pieces of everyday. I need to fight to make sure that my relationships … with Jesus, my husband, my 2 kids, our families, and our friends … don’t get swept up in the Christmas craziness. But instead, let those relationships trump all of the challenges, stress, anxiety, and distraction of the season.

So, this year when my kiddos come running down the stairs and open their version of the purple bowling ball, I’ll remind them how much they love me despite the lame gift and how much better our family is than that disappointing bowling ball.

No matter what is under your tree this year, really enjoy the greater gifts that wouldn’t fit under there anyway.

Merry Christmas.

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Lori’s post is part of a series of posts over the Christmas period. Please feel free to comment on what Lori has shared, and haste ye back for more guest bloggers who will be sharing over the next 24 days. You can find all the posts so far by clicking here.

24 days of Christmas: Happy Birthday (by Scott)

Whilst Scott likes Christmas he doesn’t like the over-abundance of glitter that this time of year brings. He is slowly retroactively realising his own blog is on hiatus.

Happy Birthday

I love Christmas.

I really love it. It is, after all, a birthday party for the greatest, bestest gift giver of them all. Yes, the guest of honour and praise was born thousands of years ago and probably some time in late spring rather than darkest winter and hasn’t been corporeal in almost as long but it is still a birthday party.

It makes me a little sad that the marketing folk of high-end products and supermarkets are hijacking the party. I remember when adverts just sold the features and benefits of the product and not the idea that it would fill the empty hole in your life; at least then it was less manipulative.

Let us ignore that part though, cast away any feeling of stress about buying the right gift. Let us think more about the things we can give that can’t be bought from catalogues and department stores.

When The Birthday Boy had a brief post-death jaunt on this earthly plain he met up with his friends and had a special lunch. The food itself, though a miraculous catch, was pretty simple: flame-grilled fish. The special part was the people he shared with.

That is perhaps the crux of it. Christmas is not about giving or getting but sharing what we have with the people we are with. And no slowed down cover version of an Eighties pop song will change that.

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Scott’s post is part of a series of posts over the Christmas period. Please feel free to comment on what Scott has shared, and haste ye back for more guest bloggers who will be sharing over the next 24 days. You can find all the posts so far by clicking here.