St Peter’s Church, Heysham

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For saint Peter's church

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Sparks on the First Date?

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From the Christian Connection dating blog. Some really good points here.

Do I need to feel a spark on the first date?

Written by Katherine Baldwin

Modern dating happens so fast. We rule people out online before we’ve even met them or we check to see if anyone new has liked our profile on the way home from a date. At this hectic pace, how do we decide whether to see someone again after a first encounter or move on to the next?

Often, we’re looking for that all-important chemistry. But do we really need to feel a spark on the first date?

The simple answer would be ‘Yes,’ but I’ve never been a fan of simple answers and life isn’t straightforward or black and white.

A while back, I asked my fiancé if he’d felt a spark between us when we first met. To clarify, we weren’t on a date. We met in the kitchen of a cottage in Cornwall on a cycling weekend with mutual friends. He walked in wearing lycra and a helmet while I was putting lasagne in the oven.

He gave me an honest answer: ‘No, not really,’ which of course I didn’t like to hear. I then asked myself the same question and came up with a similar (if more wordy) response.

I know I felt something. He had a kind face and a calm, peaceful presence, which I was drawn to. But I also came up with a long list of reasons why he wasn’t for me – reasons which would have scuppered our chances of a relationship if we’d met on a date rather than as friends.

Fortunately, I had an entire weekend to get to know him and to grow to like him. No pressure. No rush.

So based on our experience, and on the stories of many couples I’ve met who didn’t fall in love at first sight but who are together nonetheless, I’d suggest we don’t need to feel a spark on a first encounter and that curiosity could be enough of a basis for a second or third date.

Do you feel curious? Do you want to know more? Also, ask yourself these questions: how do I feel in his or her presence? Do I feel content and relaxed? Can I be myself with this person?

If you are someone who craves that spark, it’s a good idea to be aware that fireworks can sometimes be a red flag rather than a green light.

We’ve all seen Hollywood movies featuring passionate clinches and lightning bolts. Some of us have come away with the conclusion that real connection has to look like that. But these instant attractions can be unhealthy.

When sparks fly between two people, it may be the case that they both have deep, unmet needs for love, affection or touch or that they have unhealed wounds and they’re craving comfort and support. They’re drawn to each other like magnets and they stick together like glue – for a while. And then the relationship unravels because they can’t meet each other’s deep needs or heal each other’s hurt.

I know this from experience. I’ve had a number of fiery relationships that, for a brief period, have transported me to another place. Sparks have flown. ‘This is like Hollywood – he has to be The One,’ I’ve thought. But these relationships that began with fireworks always went up in smoke. The attraction was unhealthy. I was either drawn to commitment-phobes, enticed by the thought I could make them commit, or I fell hard for people who had their own unmet needs and unhealed wounds, as I did.

After a number of crash and burn experiences, I understood that I had to learn to meet my own needs and heal my wounds as best as I could first. I had to learn to practise self-love and self-care. I had to re-parent myself and learn to soothe myself. I had to find healthy ways to experience hugs and human touch. And I had to resolve some of my childhood issues so that I didn’t crave male affection and affirmation quite so much – so that I could regain the power of choice when in the presence of an attractive man.

As I got healthier, I became wary of the chemical pull or the flashes of lightning. I set boundaries for dating so that I could keep myself emotionally safe while I found out more about the person I was with. I asked friends for support so that I wouldn’t repeat the same patterns over and over again.

We all have our own journeys. We all make our own mistakes. But can I suggest that you be wary of instant fireworks? Can I suggest that you tend to your own unmet needs and heal any lingering hurt as best you can, so that you’re not craving love and comfort? (Dating with a craving is like shopping for food when starving – we lose our discernment.)

And can I suggest that you go on a second or third date with people whom you’re curious about, even if there aren’t any immediate sparks?

You never know what will come of it.

Resting B**** Face in the Church of the Poison Mind

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said I find it hard to move on yet I have decided today to purge some of my ‘friends’ on Facebook and to simply not engage with horror people IRL. 

This has come  from the realisation that I am surrounded at times by women who can best be described as having ‘resting b**** face’  syndrome. (RBF). No matter how hard I try to be friendly I get nowhere.  And they call themselves Christians!

I don’t really know why they don’t like me but there it is!  They make me feel like the white, blonde/ginger bitchy girls at school did or used to. Yeah, you know the ones… The shiny people! 

Actually some of the men are as bad.  There’s a couple I can think of right now – arrogance personified!

I really don’t need this stuff in my life.  Be gone!

When Pastors Reach The Divided Path

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1-divided-path-tracie-kiernan.jpgWe said goodbye to the best pastor today as he and his wife are moving onto pastures new. I’ve been really upset about this for a few months – Both of these people have had a very significant impact on my life and I think of him as a nephew that I never had – but I’ve come to terms with it now as it is right for them.  He will be a real loss to us, as will she, but I also know that we reach ‘the divided path’ many times on our journey through life.  

Pastor B and his wife  need to be in the new place and I also am taking steps towards a different kind of life. Whether I will stay with this church or not I do not know. I am not somebody who moves on easily. However I know that eventually I will want somewhere which is nearer to New Home as the journey to and fro is quite time consuming and tiring and also I am not a member of the community where my present church is.  I will stay with them for the time being until I feel more secure and settled in my new life.

Valentine’s Day Prayer

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“We pray today for those in love, those off love, those in between. And for those who are lonelier today than other days.
We pray today for those whose frozen hearts cannot love & those who feel so unlovely that they can’t love themselves.
We pray for the elderly man gazing today at a black and white photograph in a silver frame of a wedding in another time.
We pray for the the mum, who quietly bought herself flowers yesterday. And the boy who dared to send a card but didn’t get one back.
King of love come comfort and forgive us this cheap, gaudy, desperate, isolating thing we have made of you. Amen.”
Pete Greig – Valentine’s Prayer

One of our pastors shared this on Facebook. It’s awesome.

Still Part of the Fellowship

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abstract-fine-color-waves-910x300A church friend contacted me yesterday and I wanted to share how encouraging she was.
I was explaining how sad I was that I haven’t been able to get to church as much, although I have made it to life group a few times and the Christmas concert.

She said: “But you’re still part of the fellowship. Every single person who can’t get to church for one reason or another is still part of the fellowship.”

This is such a powerful thing for me to hear and I realised that the fellowship IS all still going on: texts, letters, visits, support, prayer, music, podcasts and reading.

There are lots of people who can’t always get to the services, through ill health or distance.

I just wanted to say it’s true: “We are all still part of the fellowship.”

A Lover’s Story: Crookes Valley Park, Sheffield, 1988.

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“Will you stay in our lover’s story?” Kooks, David Bowie.

Back in 1988 I saw our time in Sheffield as a sad and lonely period yet in retrospect I see it differently. We were young, not yet fully formed, and very much in love.

My job was hard, physically and mentally, and I felt pulled in many directions. At work, I was the ‘newbie’, before that word was invented, who had to make her mark, a graduate among school leavers, viewed with a little suspicion. I wasn’t part of any clique and was frequently homesick for my birth town and my parents. Gray was out-of-work and lonely too. As I had dragged him to this landlocked city I felt I had to make everything alright for him. Exhausted after my day at the office I felt obliged to go out at night, to pubs or to the cinema, when really I would have preferred to stay in and just talk or be.

Sundays became special though.

Mostly we walked in Weston Park, sometimes visiting the art gallery there, and often in Crookes Valley Park, which was often swathed in mist.  He would wear his Joe Orton-style leather jacket and I would be in my blue coat with its real fur collar, which I’d picked up in Oxfam in Broomhill. It looked like something straight out of a Tissot painting. I kept that coat for years.

Crookes Valley Park comprised sloping greens and a flat lake and was peaceful in a melancholic sort of way. Gray was often sad and we were frequently tired. What we talked about I can’t recall but conversation always flowed between us as the leaves came tumbling down around us. There was this utter sense of togetherness, of being with the right one. If I’d have known my Bible back then I would have identified with the verse from Song of Solomon:

“I have found the one whom my soul loves.”

Sometimes we would walk down to Hunter’s Bar and end up in Pizza Hut. Having been on the dole for a few months before I got this job this seemed to us quite decadent! I relished seeing the anticipation in his eyes and we’d laugh as the soft, doughy pizza would melt in our fingers – and then in our mouths. I loved to see him happy like that.

Sundays were doubly precious because I never looked forward to rejoining the world of office politics in a department that was sinking fast in an era of privatisation. Many people in the office were having affairs with each other as if it was the last few  days of pre-war Berlin. This was the very antithesis of my world of “pure love”, monogamous, hopeful and magical.

These memories can pierce my heart, as if they were happening right now. I wonder at this, bemused, that he, in his new life with new wife, doesn’t feel it too, at the very same moment as I do.

The subconscious mind, I read, doesn’t understand past and present, but sees everything as if it IS occurring right now. And it is happening.  I’m walking in Crookes Park, Sheffield, with the man I love.

I am loved, valued, wanted.

When You Are Not Needed

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Sometimes having only yourself to think about is more a of a curse than a blessing. Even offered to take my 83 neighbour to the nursing home where here hubby is today but she was already sorted!

Offered to help young friends out with childcare on their moving day, but they don’t need me. I’ve joined a voluntary group – but nothing’s happening yet, I’ve work promised – but for the future, have a business idea – but it is still in development. Even Life Group was cancelled tonight.

At least I got out of town today for a while! Hallelujah!

Marriage support – Care for the Family

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“Every marriage is different, but all marriages experience ups and downs – there’s the romantic times when the sun seems to be always shining, and the tough times when winter seems to have set in for good. We want to support you in your relationship whether you are preparing to get married or have been …”

Source: Marriage support – Care for the Family

Praying for Healing Isn’t Enough

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Praying for our health isn’t enough. I’ve learned that we have to pray to God to be shown what we need to change –  how our thinking and behaviour need to alter, no matter how painful the execution of those things may be.  We need to meet God halfway and take responsibility for our own part. But sometimes we need God to show us what those steps are.  

Just vaguely praying for healing for ourselves and our friends, for example, in Life Group, which is what we do a lot of, isn’t enough. We need to get specific. 

 

Dr Sarno Makes Me Realise I’m a Bitter Hag!

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I am doing a lot of mind-body therapy at the moment, following the teachings of Dr Sarno, author of The Divided Mind and inventor of the term Tension Myositis Syndrome.  It’s fascinating stuff.  Basically, the idea is that many chronic conditions are the result of holding in, or rather repressing, difficult emotions, especially rage/anger.  The process is unconscious.

You have to list all the things in your life, past and present, that make you angry or cause other negative emotions such as sadness, fear, etc.  My list is very long –and I haven’t even finished!

I have realised I am criminally envious of and bitter towards two Christians I know.  These two seem to live the perfect life and it really gets to me.  It pains me to admit it but I really do not like one of them.  It is hard to say it out loud but I think this person is spoilt and they have made me feel like some people in the past have made me feel: lesser, lowly and a bit grubby.  I appreciate that that might be more MY problem than theirs.

I am seething with vitriol right now!  It’s not a nice feeling but at least I’m being honest with myself.  This person, of course, has no idea I feel this way and, as it happens, I have not seen them in real life for months and months.  But, boy, do they like to flaunt their lives on social media! And hopefully they will never know of my dislike. These feelings may pass now I’ve acknowledged them.

Well, that’s my vitriolic posting for the evening. I think I feel better for it!

Happy Divorce Day!

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One of my church friends is celebrating his first anniversary of remarriage today. This couple seem to live the perfect life!

I am happy for him but his announcement on Facebook and loving words to his wife reminded me that today is the second anniversary of my divorce! Cruel irony.

Yesterday, though, ex and I went to the beach. He had come from neighbouring country for work and our shared care duties. It was lovely. We got on well and it harked back to other times. I was sad that I can’t walk much (still undergoing the muscle relapse from hell) and sad that his new wife is very sporty and active.

I say to God, “Why have you abandoned me?” It’s just not fair!

Ex has changed a lot. I am sure he smiles and laughs sometimes but I never see that abundant laughter and joy on his face now. Maybe he saves it for others or other times. I don’t know. Maybe too much has happened to him for that.

 

Not Celebrating Recovery

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DSCF2594As the relapse in my health – long-term condition –  from hell continues I have dropped all regular commitments, including Celebrate Recovery at church in nearby city.

Not even sure I am going to go back to it. Not making any plans at all like that. Researching how to recover from this relapse a lot and thinking I may just stick to following my church’s sermons online while I recover.

CR is great but there are a lot of platitudes uttered from the manual. It is also a very tiring evening, especially if there are only two of you in the small sharing group. I will carry on doing my moral and spiritual inventory though. That’s useful.

Elderly Brexiters Have Sold Us Down the River

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Utterly fed up with the crowing Brexiters. What a mess. Hate crime up, the pound down, businesses in turmoil, and virtually no government going on here in the UK.

What’s worse is that my mum is here looking after me ‘cos I am having the relapse from h**l and she is making a huge difference and I am really, really grateful – BUT she voted for Britain to leave the European Union. I think she feels guilty though. She admitted that she and her generation are hankering after the Britain of the 1950s, but she knows deep down that this will never happen and that the world has changed too much for that.

Old people, Daily Express readers like my mum, have totally sold younger generations down the river -and they won’t even be around to see the mess they have landed us in! I feel sorry for the young, educated, passionate people. They are understandably bitter.

And even worse, nearly all the people I know at church, barr Pastor 3 and another leading light in the church town, were I gather, on the Brexit side. .

This, along with the fact that most of them are Tories plus some of their beliefs is making me seriously consider leaving this church. As it happens I am confined to quarters and will be for some long time. I will sped the time thinking about what to do and where to go if I ever get out of this relapse. old-people-funny-t-shirts-18__605

Sweet Memories of My Friend Who Died Saturday

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My friend PJ died on Saturday. She was friend, neighbour and some time client – and I was her client too. She was a nurse, a high flying one, and a holistic therapist. Hugely talented.

I thought a lot of her. Admired her. Envied her. She had the family I would have longed to be part of, a great job, great friends, smashing kids and a brilliant husband.

I’d listen open-mouthed as I heard about all the energy she’d expended – over the weekend, say. I could only dream of being that well. I don’t mean she was flighty or an adrenaline addict, no! She just had a zest for life and a lot of stamina.

Her youngest daughter was the very first person who spoke to me when I moved into that leafy, middle-class street 16+years ago with my now erstwhile husband. The daughter invited me into her house to a benefit for the Tanzanian tiger! I bought a fairy cake. I recall that, PJ, the woman who later became my friend, was sitting at the dining room table chatting while lots of well turned-out children did their best for our big cat friends. It’s a nice memory.

Although I knew her for 16 years she knew me better than I knew her. Most times it was me seeing her for treatment and there was a good measure of counselling/listening involved on her part. She understood about boundaries and professionalism.

I was also lucky enough to be a guinea pig when she was studying aromatherapy. Her massages, in her fantastic, elevated summer house, were awesome. When I had to go into hospital for surgery in 2013 PJ made up an aromatherapy stick for me to calm my nerves. It comprised rose oil and frankincense. Still got it and it still smells divine!

She helped me no end: when I was undergoing some awful stress related to my ex’s family, (2009) and during our break-up, (2011) and after that too. Her generosity was much appreciated. Incidentally, her acupuncture treatments were one of the few things that truly helped me out of all those I’ve tried.

The last time I saw her was Autumn 2015. She had moved away by this time to the North but she was back in the city to meet friends for lunch. I kept bumping into them and she was really giggly from lunchtime wine and lively chatter. She looked as glowing as ever and very happy.

Just weeks later she was diagnosed with cancer. It was aggressive and unrelenting. She died around 7 months after diagnosis.Within the last two days her eldest daughter has raised over £1,310 via http://www.justgiving.com for Hospice at Home.

I’m heartbroken for PJ, her family and close friends. As a Christian I don’t know what to make of it. I can pray for them.

I’ll always remember PJ. At 52 she really is gone too soon.

 

When God Makes You Wait

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amusement-park-438419_960_720Just having that extra night at Celebrate Recovery has shortened my week which means I have less energy to do other things. CR makes for quite a long evening but it is helpful.

I’ve decided that as God is making me wait here in this town due to the ridiculous house move delays I can use the time to go to this more local church where Celebrate Recovery is. In this way the waiting becomes useful.

If I had moved to the next town 6-8 weeks ago I may not have started the course as I would have been busy settling in and trying to forge a new life for myself there.

How Hearing of A Friend’s Shortened Life Expectancy Can Galvanise Us

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Hearing yesterday about a beloved friend’s terminal cancer (could be weeks, months or years – not sure yet) has made me aware that I’m spending too much time living in the past and the future and not concentrating on the now.

I’m determined to make some changes in my life, even just little ones, like not being involved with too many things on Facebook! I do the Christian business club page, update my church’s public page, then there is our prayer group, where I am the admin, and I also am admin on a client page plus have my own business page. Time to do something else I think.

There are some bigger changes I want to make too but I’m working my way through those and how I might proceed.

 

Eucharist at ‘Rival’ Church

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Have hideous cough and thus I felt it was not fair to breathe over my brethren at my usual church and that the long service and the drive was not a good idea.

Instead I went to a local church (Church of England) for 30 minute evensong. There were only six of us (not much chance to pass on germs) as opposed to the 50 that usually go on a Sunday eve at my church but it was nice. But I DO miss my usual church when I can’t go.

Having said that, I feel it’s better to go somewhere than not go at all. It focuses the mind.

Politically Active: Back to My Senses

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This latest thing with the proposed cuts to Personal Independent Payments (PIP) for disabled people in the UK has galvanised me at last!

I know a LOT about PIP and have been glued to developments. Eugenics by economics. Govt must be shocked at level of anger and outrage out there.

Have reconnected with my disabled friends who are more active politically than I thought, even if it is mostly online.

Signed up for General Strike on 4 July.

Have signed PIP and ESA petitions and mum has too – for 38 degrees. Have given them quotes they can use in media also.

Thinking about joining Christians on the Left (formerly Christian Socialist Movement). I’ve been too concerned about alienating my conservative Christian friends (who are mostly lovely yet somewhat deluded) but enough is enough!