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
I had a good company position, that is until the firm underwent a major reorganisation. It seemed like all the jobs were tossed into the air and the way they fell to earth left me wondering where I fitted in. I couldn’t see the way forward, but stood my ground and eventually I was transferred to a different, lower paid job in another city.
My main concern for the first few weeks at least, was to ‘get my feet under the desk’, keep my head down and apply myself to my new role and whole range of working relationships. For the first time in many years I was back in a large open plan office, which took some getting used to. To be truthful I found it a bit humbling. The man at the desk next to me had a lot to say. You could say he was a ‘loud mouth’ and rude with it. However I liked him and we had a few interesting conversations, as you do. It wasn’t long before he had worked out that I was a Christian, so late one afternoon he stated in a loud voice, for all the office to hear, “I bet being a Christian isn’t as good as sex!” Continue reading
I was carrying out much-needed clearance in our basement the other day and had reached the far end where stuff was piled high. Perched on the top was an old briefcase, that had been there so long is was gathering mould. I looked inside, thinking it could come in useful for carrying some of my art materials. It was empty except for a sheet of paper. I turned it over to find a page of Oswald Chambers “My Utmost for His Highest” that had been typed out.
It was for February 4th “The overmastering majesty of personal power” and was speaking about Paul who said he was overruled, overmastered, held as in a vice, by the love of Christ. Ossie Chambers goes on to comment that very few of us know, what it means to be held in a grip by the love of God. Not our love for Christ, but Christ’s love for us!
All thought of clearance vanished as I read it over and over. It was as if this was a ‘God moment!’ Continue reading
I’m not sure whether the expression “You’ve got to laugh” originates from the north of England or is more widespread, but it’s often used when faced with a trying situation and means, “not sure what to do about this, but it helps to see the funny side!” In other words, a sense of humour can lighten things and help us see a situation in a right perspective.
My wife says jokingly, that one of the inscriptions on her gravestone will be “He made me laugh!” Surprising, as one of our small granddaughters once said that I have a sad face, but on the other hand friends have said they like my smile! It seems then, that lurking somewhere in the melancholic/sanguine mix of my temperament, is a gift to make others laugh? Continue reading
I was once asked “What do you think about most of the time?” I didn’t answer directly because I felt challenged, so went away and thought about it.
I am somewhat predisposed to turning things over in my mind, but when that goes on and on without closure, I call it worrying.
When I became an operations manager for our local water company I was on call 24/7 and found it difficult to switch off and let it all go to God. This was especially so during the longest and biggest drought in our area for decades. I didn’t know where to go to get away from it all. Continue reading
All our young grandchildren are a delight, but there is one who is special. She has been diagnosed as being just within the ‘autism spectrum!’ That is the ‘label’ she has been given, as if to explain away her uniqueness. We refuse to accept such a label. She is who she is. For the first two or three years of her life her hearing was impaired. This disadvantage has been corrected and with encouragement and some heartache she is finding her own way through.
She is gifted and talented and we are proud of her. She has a vivid imagination and lives life to the full, can be very sensitive and often takes the lead in group play. But just now and again Continue reading