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
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
I wrote this very personal piece some years ago, when I was catapulted into chronic fatigue and loneliness that defied a human solution.
Whereas before, I was aware of the presence of God, it felt He had gone – this was my own Dark Night of the Soul.
I knew I had to trust Him to take me through the chasm of pain to the other side and that He did over a period of several months. Continue reading
For my wife to be given a ‘sentence’ of an aggressive and disabling form of rheumatoid arthritis certainly wasn’t on our agenda when we married. Neither did I expect to be diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome (M.E.) not long after taking early retirement. These chronic illnesses changed the direction of our lives for ever, but although they were the cause of much grief and struggle, we have so very much to be thankful for and strangely, I wouldn’t have it any other way. It has been a life-changing experience so far and this continues – we are still learning. What I personally have learnt and am still learning was on my mind today and these are just a few thoughts:
1. Fun. There are times when I have to remind myself not to take life too seriously and find time for fun. Yes FUN! It helps to have a sense of humour. Mine gets buried at times and I need to let it out and even take the risk of offending some. Continue reading
Speaking with a friend the other day, he asked me if I loved and accepted myself – meaning in the same way God does – and I replied about eighty percent. He said he felt he didn’t have a very good view of himself, so settled for twenty five percent.
I’m convinced that this was one of the factors that contributed towards my chronic fatigue syndrome. Continue reading