29 May 2017

Theology

M: Are there dogs in heaven?

Me: I don't know. God made dogs and everything else and called them 'good', so-

M: The Bible doesn't actually say though.

Me: No, it doesn't. But it doesn't say there won't be animals in heaven either. And we're told the Earth will be made like new again one day. Put back to the way it should be.

M: I think there SHOULD be dogs in heaven. Especially police dogs that have died while they were working.


24 May 2017

You are running low on storage space

(and this is probably why...)

No shopping bags in the back of the car + a stubborn reluctance to pay 5p for carriers trash the planet = the above


Please note: Only 15.5p / 100sht


Evidence submitted for independent Gobbit review. I lost.


A tiny far away person who is probably normal sized when you get close to them. But I was far away.


Chasing blossom as it falls off the tree. She got really happy when she caught some before it hit the ground. Adults don't do this and I'm not sure why.


The demise of Calamity Ganon. Oh yes.


Girl in a box. Just because she fits.


Our old dishwasher being left at the tip. Sad until I realised it could make a new friend. It had a long and (mostly) useful life. 


A seagull on a bin by Tesco. It was about to commit an act of littering until cunningly distracted with tiger bread. 


A new jogging walking fast door to door record from Jen's to mine. Woo hoo.  

... plus many, many more moments of randomness that in the age of 35mm film would be lost to obscurity.

The End


27 Apr 2017

T'was the night before Easter...

For the last 3 years I've signed up to the #40acts - a series of daily emails on the 40 days leading up to Easter aimed at encouraging generosity (rather than giving stuff up) for Lent. Each email contains a short blog, a Bible reference and 3 suggested activities depending on how much time / money / skills / courage you have to give. It's fun and it's easier than giving up chocolate. Or alcohol. But it comes around at such a mental time of year for us that I end up doing slightly less than 40 Acts. This year I did three. (Three and a half - if you count the chocolate giveaway which involved some of the chocolate coming right back to me).

Anyway, we live under grace and not the law so I'll focus on the 3 and a half Acts that happened:

#Act3: Roots
We can live somewhere for decades and never really put our roots down there. What does it look like to get more deeply rooted in our home community? Today's act will help you to explore ways of generously investing in your home town.

Action: Joined a gym
This was a complete surprise to me too. I have never joined a gym in my life. I do not consider myself to be a gym type of person. Do you ever wake up from a dream having behaved in a particular way and feel confused because it was SO out of character for you to have done something? That's what this whole thing was like. I mean why pay good money to sweat indoors when you can sweat outdoors for free by walking or jogging anywhere you have the energy to go? Or sweating almost for free in the comfort of your own home to a 2nd hand Davina McCall DVD?

Answer: Because I don't. I need people to sweat alongside me. I am a rubbish solo exerciser. I've literally just realised this. And not wasting money is a great motivator to get me to do anything, so the prospect of paying for a gym membership I never use is worse than joining one in the first place. So there we go - I'm attending 2-3 classes a week, putting down roots and becoming bendier with pilates. 

#Act12: Chocolate Tuesday
Slip a bar of chocolate into someone’s bag with a note saying ‘#40acts’. Or leave a bar or two in your local library, on a park bench or on the train.

Action: Bought chocolate bars to give away
Recipient (husband) shared chocolate with me without prompting. I think that's allowed. He's permitted to be generous too. ✓1/2

#Act24: Stand
It's easy to get weighed down by the injustice and need we see all around us, and to imagine that there's nothing (or very little) we can do about it. Choose not to shy away from a cause today. Lend your voice to the voiceless, stand up for those who can't stand up for themselves, and don't wait for someone else to be the solution.

Action: Standing as a Lib Dem councillor on May 4th
This is in a local safe labour word I am PROMISED I have no chance of winning. It's purely a paper exercise so the party can gauge their support base and perhaps attract protest votes. Although the party has experienced a surge in membership since the snap general election announcement so now I'm a little anxious that a bunch of people may actually vote for me even though we've never leafleted and I'm not really sure what councillors do aside from attend meetings and listen to complaints about hedges. I just got fed up of complaining about the way things are and God clearly said not to wait for someone else to be the token opposition solution. 

#Act33: Hats Off
Matthew 22:34–40: Jesus answered 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbour as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.

Action: Went to a Jehovah's Witness meeting
#act33 arrived in my inbox on the same day as an invitation from the Jehovah Witnesses to attend one of their services. I concluded these 2 events were related and God wanted me to go: These people are my neighbours and I don't know who they are. And that's more my fault than theirs - they knock on my door maybe twice a year and I never knock on theirs. So I went. I explained why I was there to the woman on the door (I'm doing #40acts and you're my neighbour) who excitedly ushered me in and found the woman, Kirstin who had given me the invite. I sat next to her and listened and heard some familiar stuff and some unfamiliar stuff too. We talked for a while and I commented on feeling underdressed in ripped jeans and a hoody (Their church is very suity and dressy. My church is neither of these things). She said that didn't matter and it was nice to see me. She said it was brave of me to come on my own and not know anyone. I said it wasn't really brave because it didn't faze me and I shaved my head 5 months ago for my best mate who was having chemo and raised a grand for charity and lots of people said THAT was brave too, but really it wasn't because that didn't scare me either. We chatted some more and she said, 'I don't get the impression you're here searching for anything.' And I said 'No - I'm not!' Then I left. 

#Act33: Scene 2
Except the Lentish lesson continued.

Kirstin turned up on my doorstep 3 days later on good Friday with another woman from their church and they came in and we had coffee and we chatted for about an hour about the Bible and religion and #Act24 and why they don't ever vote.

And then I didn't sleep properly that night because I'd played Breath of the Wild for about 7 hours that day and watched the kids play for another couple of hours on top of that (they are further ahead than me). THEN I read a load of theology about JW beliefs on my phone in bed which triggered a weird tangle of  BoTW/JW half dreams which involved climbing and gliding and searching all over Hyrule for fragments of truth which made my Sheikah sensor beep like crazy as I approached them, but when I was JUST about to reach them, the beeping would stop. And Kirstin was there, talking to me like she was holding something, but her hand was empty.

At 4am I was still awake and exhausted and lonely and unbelievably SAD because I desperately wanted to talk to Jesus about everything on the one night of the whole year between Good Friday and Easter Sunday when we remember when he wasn't around.

And then I realised what was different. There was a huge undercurrent of expectation and rules in how Kirstin had explained her beliefs to me. The closeness of a father/child relationship was absent. Doctrine had dominated our conversation - and I had gone along with it. 

And now, in the middle of the night on Easter Saturday I was still looking to doctrine to reconcile her theology with my own, but Jesus wasn't there and I realised I was grieving for Him. Like really, proper missing him. Aching because the love had nowhere to go and I was lost in Hyrule with a broken Sheikah slate.

Come back- please.
I never left. I'm right here. 
Oh thank God!! Where did you go?
Nowhere - You were wandering all over the place. I was following you.
I couldn't see you.
I saw you the whole time.
Don't ever leave - please.
I won't - I can't. I love you.
I love you too.
It's 5am. Go to sleep.
OK.




29 Mar 2017

Article 48... Article 49... Article 49 and a half...



As a directionally challenged person who has never been to London alone before, I felt unable to join the 100, 000 strong Unite for Europe march last Saturday in case I never made it home again. I've therefore emailed Donald Tusk instead and asked him to disregard Theresa May's letter triggering Article 50 until we sort ourselves out and decide what we want. What we really, really want.

This is the most recent small gesture in a series of small gestures which have included voting Remain on June 23rd, writing to my MP, signing a few petitions, leaving some comments on a group Facebook page (which I quickly unfollowed as both sides stopped listening and threw insults back and forth instead), joining the Liberal Democrats 4 months ago and offering to stand as local councillor in in a nearby ward at the next local election on the understanding I have no hope of winning it.

I honestly don't know what else to do. Life is busy enough already, you know?

Human beings have lived in times of social and political upheaval before, but social media has made it waay too easy to YELL ABUSE at strangers who happen to disagree with your point of view (regardless of how informed or ill informed that may be). The strength of feeling and rate of escalation in conversations is hugely disturbing, yet a conversation earlier tonight with Spawn X freaked me out even more. It went thusly:

Me: So Theresa May's letter should get there tomorrow and Article 50 will be triggered.
Him: Yeah, I know.
Me: I'm emailing the President of the European Council and telling him I don't agree with her.
Him: That will never work.
Me: Yeah, I know. But I want him to know anyway.
Him: Why? What does it matter? Brexit will happen anyway.
Me: What does it matter? Don't you realise nothing would EVER change if everyone believed nothing ever would?
Him: But we have a democracy - people voted to leave.
Me: People got the vote because other people fought for it - people who lived and died before we got here.
Him: And the people voted and have spoken.
Me: If you're white, male and straight you have nothing left to fight for. Are you too privileged to care about what happens?
Him: No - I just don't think it's worth fighting anything you have no hope of ever winning.
Me: But can't you see that every massive change in society was at one point unwinnable? Don't they teach you about Martin Luther King in school? Ghandi?? Why the conformity?
Him: It's not about conformity - I think that people voted and they should face the consequences of their decision - even if it was a stupid decision.
Me: But... but... You're the one who's going to have to live with it - for longer than me! And your kids. And your grandkids.
Him: That's what democracy means, mum.
Me: Yeah - and it also means that we can protest about it. This isn't North Korea. You disagree with them there and you get carted off and loose your thumbs.
Him: Aaaargh.... You're wasting your time. And you're winding me up.
Me: So you think we should just do NOTHING?
Him (Pulling his hood up over his head and wrapping the cord around his neck in slow motion): I'm. Just. Saying. I. Think. You're. Wrong.
Me (Reality check): Oh my gosh... I'm being like Grandma with anything involving alcohol. Aren't I?
Him (Nodding): Twenty minutes of my life. For ONE joke about beer...
Me: I'm sorry.
(We hug and he goes to bed)

Ah well. Zig-a-zig-ah. Happy Article 50 Day, UK.

12 Jan 2017

System overload


Adulting is exhausting me today. Too many emotions for one tiny shaven head. Ok - we have:

Irritation that the work day has been spent doing lots of things with very little to show for it
Anxiety that the to do list for tomorrow is even longer now 
Relief that the end of financal year almost up 
Happiness with brand new filing system (2 empty folders with pre-labelled dividers)
Disbelief that child X has stumbled upon in-app purchases and spent £450 in last 2 days
Gratitude towards bank who realised there was unusual activity before we did and blocked our card
Anger that X bought pixels without authorisation
Irritated that in-app purchase function wasn't disabled as I had believed it to be
Disappointment that X would even try to buy pixels when you can play the game and get everything in it for free if you waste enough hours of your life playing it
Fascination with gaming currency (gems) vs 'real' money (pounds sterling in this case) and how inter-changeable they both are when there's only ONE swipe between them
Realisation that if I'm struggling with the above, how much more abstract a concept is this to a small/medium sized person who does not yet have a bank card
Annoyed with X for not making the distinction anyway and clicking 'Confirm purchase'
• On 20 separate occasions
Compassion at the level of shame and remorse he is currently demonstrating (he has been crying hot, silent tears and snot into my left thigh for the past hour and shows no signs of stopping)
Anger with the nature of the world and the fact we even need money in the first place
• (This is not new- See here. And here)
Anger at the Clash Royale people for making it so easy to spend large amounts of real money in a short period of time
Admiration of the business model that makes large amounts of real money in a short period of time
• Shame that as an adult, I did not identify the in-app loophole and close it myself
Annoyance at Apple who have taken all our money
• Slight stirrings of Hope that they might not keep it
Growing excitement during online conversation with Apple support who want to investigate and see what they can do
Immense relief at their decision to refund 80% of the bill
Happy dance around living room
Anticipation in telling X the good news
Impatience that X has showered, gone to bed and cried himself to sleep so I can't tell him yet
Overwhelming Love as I watch him sleep 
Gratitude that we get to have him in our lives - despite the complications this can involve
Empathy with the impulsive addicts who get sucked into shallow rewards and loose their homes, marriages or sanity because of lack of control. (Usually because of something far heftier than Clash Royale pixels, but the underlying principle is surely the same)
Gratitude for the people in my life that have shown me grace when I needed it
Delight that we have wine in the cupboard