I’m sorry for the silence. I have not forgotten you, but unexpected events changed what was meant to be a summer break from writing into a difficult and trying time for my wife and I.
It started with the prolonged acute illness and death of a loved one which took most of our time and energy. On top of which my cancer treatment has not progressed as expected. This has left us leaning on Jesus as never before and is taking us way beyond our own capabilities. We have been here before, but this is a ‘biggy!’ As my wife remarked the other day, “This is the biggest challenge of your life” and I replied that it was also a challenge for my life.
Jesus is taking us through and when the time is right I hope soon, God willing, to be back writing with renewed inspiration from our experiences. I wish to thank those who have commented, expressed concern and for your prayers.
In the meantime you will find a weekly selection of my posts on Sitting Under My Fruit Tree.
New Year Blessings
If you are going through a hard time or in a prolonged stressful situation, it’s tempting to look at others and feel you are missing out. On the surface at least, they seem to be sailing through life and have it easy in comparison. Before long you may even indulge in a little self pity, which, if allowed to continue, can be a destructive path spiraling down to despair.
My wife is long-term disabled and increasingly mobility-challenged. Over recent years, I have been finding a way through two chronic illnesses and found the sudden physical restriction and loss devastating at first. There was so much stimulating and fulfilling activity, including Christian service, that I could no longer be part of. But slowly, as I painfully let go of all that, I entered into another world.
This was a world where we were in the slow lane Continue reading
The saga of the seagulls continues from the previous post (Haven’t You Heard?) with this update. Here are the three chicks, except they have grown since and wrought mayhem in our garden – reminds me the roof must be cleaned! Two of them finally found their wings and haven’t been seen for a day or so – probably exploring with their new-found freedom. That leaves the smallest who hasn’t yet taken the risk. There’s the occasional flap of the wings, but he (or she) is staying firmly on the ground. Not what he is made for of course.
Now, we are made for flying, it’s our birthright, but it can be scary. Continue reading
I was having a clear out and tidy up this morning and came across this poem amongst a pile of papers.
I offer it as is without comment:
What is a Church?
The Church is never a place
but always a people.
Never a fold but always a flock
Never a sacred building Continue reading
I was up early the other morning as usual. While waiting for the coffee to filter through, I raised the kitchen blind to see a pair of eyes peering at me. A bedraggled seagull chick from our roof had somehow landed in our back garden, looking lost and forlorn. It padded around and every now and again raised it’s head and let out a squeaky cry. You know there’s nothing more pathetic than the squawk of a young seagull. This was no baby!It had grown over the months, having been fed from it’s mother’s beak and already bore the marks of grandeur of an adult. No, this was a ‘toddler’ gull. Continue reading
Food was scarce in wartime Britain, so my father dug up half the back lawn to grow vegetables. As a small boy I loved watching him skilfully prepare and rake the soil. Then I would help pop the pea and bean seeds into the holes he’d made with his dibber. He even let me have a little plot all to myself, where I grew radishes and lettuce. I got very impatient and used to pull the tiny seedlings up to see if there was anything there.
We also kept chickens and I delighted in lifting the nesting box lids to see if there were any eggs. If there were, I would rush back to the house clutching my precious prizes. Hopefully they arrived unbroken. For a real treat we would have one of the birds for Christmas dinner. My father was surprisingly squeamish, so asked the milkman to do the dirty deed. I helped with the plucking. I remember the fluffy under-feathers floating around and filling the air in our small lean-to greenhouse. We fed the hens on something called balancer meal, which was mixed into a mash with cooked vegetable waste.
One day, the peelings were boiling merrily on the kitchen range, while I reclined in comfort on the floor just below. I don’t quite know how it happened; Continue reading
As children we used to make things in a wax, called Glitterwax. The idea was to take time in softening it in our warm hands, then fashion delicate ornaments like flower petals. Later our creations could be used again to make something even better, but the wax had to go through the same softening process first, otherwise the hard petals would just break into tiny pieces.
I want to remain soft and pliable. What I often call being soft in the heart and hard in the head! Hopefully I’ve come to recognize the signs of starting to become brittle, like being intolerant, snappy or controlling for example. You could say that in trying circumstances this is excusable, but Continue reading