The Jubilation-Despair Clash

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Things have been very up or down here.  I’ve just had a very busy week,  busy for me that is.  

JUBILATION   I went to a prayer meeting at the tiny church on my new street. This church is linked to my usual church – they belong to the same family. I’m hoping to get involved in their home group whilst I am recuperating from my long health relapse.

I’ve had beloved visitors to the flat which has made it feel much more homely. I also met a woman and her partner at a social event. She  invited me to her new home which is a palatial edifice overlooking the sea. The views are spectacular.  They moved up from London six months ago. Gentrification is definitely taking place here.

I also went to a craft/technical workshop yesterday which I absolutely loved.

DESPAIR  But there are downsides too. I went to my GP and asked to go back on antidepressants as being housebound much of the time has been really getting to me.  I am feeling a little brighter for that.  I am also going to be tested for Addison’s Disease.  I don’t think I have it but it is a good place to start,  to find out why I have had muscle wasting and weight loss over the last 3 years.  Personally I think it is to do with hormones,  lack thereof,  after my hysterectomy.  Low testosterone can be a real problem.

I am really struggling with my trusted mechanic, who is looking out for an automatic car for me. It’s taking ages and I feel that there is a breakdown in communication. I feel like a ‘problem’ to him, which is how my ex used to make me feel, whereas we have always got on brilliantly. 

My relationship with my  best friend, G, is also proving to be quite difficult. We have had some talks recently about how I feel the friendship is being eroded by his extraordinarily busy, stressful life. Much of his life is negative. I really do fear for his health – and he does too! He got defensive when I brought up this ‘fading of our friendship’.  He basically told me to ‘get over it’ and ‘get on with it’.  I  believe  he has lost perspective and sees me as attacking him rather than trying to sort the problem out.  We have been friends for 31 years.  I don’t think he has any conception at all of what it is like to be very often housebound and vulnerable because of that. Disappointing.

Therefore, I have jubilant times and times of despair.  I have a large desire to tell a few people to sling their hooks.  But I know that that will be self-defeating in the long run. I must master my emotions! 

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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

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

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!

 

A Fire Burns Tonight, Lent, Day 17.

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_65108948_peterfarrellHad an evening at a friend’s house with some of her friends. Well, actually, it is the house of her parents, a farm estate that’s been in her family for 200 years. She’s living back at home and what a very lovely home it is! The new things were that I met two of her friends who I’d never seen before.

I felt out of place, even quite shy, to start with as they are all about 10 years younger than me and have known each other years but I tried not to let that hinder me. Most of them are Christians, but not all, and they tend to belong to looser, more liberal churches than the one I go to (which is too fundamental for me but I love the place and the people and the pastors).

I really enjoyed the evening and ate my own body weight in Pringles, dips and spaghetti bolognese and loved the large, blazing woodburner.

Moving Towards Life for Lent

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A Christian who lives on my street, asked me what I was giving up for Lent.

As I have a restricted life – no chocolate, no alcohol, no drugs, no gooey cakes, no eggs (allergic!) and am celibate – I thought that during Lent that I would instead go towards life rather than away from it. Giving up more things is going to worsen my already on and off joylessness.

And after all, the end of Lent is Easter, a time of renewal and resurrection. New life.

Therefore I shall be trying one new thing a day. At least one thing. It may only be a small thing – talking to a new person, buying a new food, reading a new book – but as long as it’s new and life affirming that qualifies. I guess that the sacrifice of shunning a pleasure is a small way of showing gratitude for Christ’s sacrifice.

PIC: New view towards North Yorkshire. 

Are You Too Cautious?

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Are you too cautious in relationships?

Travelling Light from Los Angeles

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chola shirt

Following on from my love of the Mexican-American Chola-style look here’s a pic of the great shirt I snaffled recently. It’s got some great details – beautiful buttons and fits like a glove. It’s also been well-loved ‘cos it’s a little bobbled in places. How did this shirt, made in China, sold in a single store in downtown Los Angeles, end up in the scruffiest (but very friendly) charity shop in northern England? I’d love to know its tale.

I’ll be adding my humungous, blingalicious crucifix to this some time to cement the Chola look!

Pastoral Care Can Provide a Real Boost

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I had a meeting with Pastor 3 today. This was the first time I’d really spent any time with this pastor outside of a church setting.

I found it extremely useful and got some good wisdom on coping with various aspects of my life right now. I wrote the salient points down in my journal. I try and do that whenever someone says something that I know I need to hammer into my brain as I am prone to a lot of doubt (about the world) and self-doubt.

I am very interested in the role of pastors. I think it is because I am interested in how organisations work, even though can be something of a lone wolf myself.

Chola-Style, Religious Iconography and Me

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I’ve become fascinated by California and LA lately. This is largely to do with the music I love – rock, pop and soul. This led me to the book City of Style by Melissa Magsasay, about LA style.

I was surprised to be most drawn to Chola style and have been adapting the look for my own use, as suitable for someone of my age. The Chola look is based on Chicano gang girls’ style – working class Mexican immigrants from the 1920s onwards. It is characterised, today, by arched eyebrows, ruby lips, big hoop earrings, bandanas, checked shirts, tattoos, skinny jeans and converse trainers. In pop culture terms think of Gwen Stefani, Fergie, Amy Winehouse and Kat Von D.

At my age I can do without the tattoos but pretty much everything else is a great look for any age – strong, sexy but not slutty, tomboyish yet also girly. What’s not to love? I picked up a fabulous grey checked shirt, complete with pearly buttons, and it fits perfectly, from an incredibly scruffy charity shop in my home town – that originally came from a Los Angeles’ shop. A bargain at £1.00. What gold lies in them there hills! I wore the ‘look’ at church BBQ this evening. We humans have to wear clothes – might as well make it fun!

Cholas use a lot of religious jewellery in their attire too, albeit, Roman Catholic-related. Well, I’m not a Catholic but it’s refreshing to see faith worn as fashion when it has a direct link to someone’s heritage and beliefs rather than just in the way that crucifixes are  often worn with no thought as to what that symbol means.

Thessalonians 2 – Our Life Group Notes

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Firm Foundations: Our Encouragement

REFLECTION: remembering the main points

  • Our Encouragement: 2 Thessalonians 1:3-12: how to persevere through adversity
  • Theological Encouragement: God’s Just, Powerful & Faithful: 5-10
  • Relational Encouragement: praise & prayer: 3-4; 11-12

DISCUSSION: choose one or more questions

  • What are some of the current pressures in your own life as a follower of Christ?
  • Do we share any cultural elements with the believers in 1st century Thessalonica?
  • Have you ever felt like your encouragement has changed someone else’s life?
  • How can you develop a deeper theological foundation for hope?
  • Are there practical ways of deepening the encouragement side of your prayer life?
  • Why do we squirm when we come across passages related to God’s judgement?

APPLICATION: things you/we can do

  • Watch this clip and talk about the power of encouragement: https://vimeo.com/102063076. Dream, think and talk together about 4 practical things you can start doing as a LIFE Group to support each other, weekly, as you face the daily pressures of living as a Christ-follower.
  • Using good resources from http://www.opendoorsuk.org – please spend some time praying for the persecuted Christians around the world.

The Best Thing About Being Single Is…

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I don’t really evangelise such but what I do is ‘testify’ – in other words, I talk to non-Christian friends about how I became a Christian and involved with my church when they ask me.

When they can see that you have not turned into a nutter they take you more seriously. My personality hasn’t changed greatly but my behaviour has, on the whole. My beliefs haven’t changed too much – rather they become more my own beliefs. I think before my beliefs were very heavily influenced by those of my husband, who is a man of very strong opinion. Only through becoming single have I been able to work out what it is I actually do believe and don’t believe about all sorts of things.

This discovering who you are is the best thing about being single after a long marriage or relationship has ended.

Beyond Belief (album)

Beyond Belief (album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My Three Years of Celibacy

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see filename (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Next week I shall celebrate three years of celibacy. It’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It wasn’t a decision as such straightaway. I just found that when men made approaches to me I was becoming less and less interested in engaging until one day I just decided: I’m going to remain celibate until I either get into a very committed relationship or remarry.

The likelihood of me getting married again is slim. Not sure how I feel about that.

The Lights Are On But Nobody’s Home

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http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/111017855
I’ve spent the last few months with a new male friend. It’s platonic. And he’s not a Christian. I’m really glad that I’ve stuck to my guns, and my increasingly-honed Christian principles, and not got involved on a physical basis whatsoever. Nada.
I truly see that choosing to be celibate in a great way to bolster your self-esteem and it protects you from people who are potentially harmful.
I did try and envisage myself with this guy in a ‘more than friends’ scenario and I was aware of my own defences and barriers. I decided to give it some time – but it is not going to happen.
From the beginning I have had alarm bells but we have such a nice time when we go out that it’s been hard to refuse his company. However, I’ve realised that while we connect brilliantly mentally, emotionally he is just not ‘there’. It is like the lights are on but no-one’s home.
On the surface he is charming, cultured and very nice. But I can’t talk about anything negative/admit real vulnerability about my feelings or life. It is a false intimacy we have. When I do he ignores it or says something platitudinous. I don’t think he is truly interested in me – more in what I could do for him in ending his loneliness and single state.
There is just this strong feeling in me that all is not right. The question is what to do about it?

The Quiet Evangelist

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name lost in internet. Seems to be Mystic Marr...

name lost in internet. Seems to be Mystic Marriage of Christ and the Church (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I used to think evangelism was very dicey but I do have some idea of what they mean when they say it is: “reaching out to the lost for Christ.”

It sounds high falutin’ but it isn’t. I know a couple of people who really would benefit from being in a church family as they have no family of their own. I also know that people can become stuck with the issues in their lives that have held them back and following a spiritual path, okay, becoming a Christian, could really help them grow.

Have had a few opportunities lately to demonstrate how God is working in my life – not by banging on about it but by showing different behaviour in certain situations. Then people remark on it and I say, quietly, “Yes, well, I’ve done a  ot of work on myself but going to church and becoming a Christian has been a major factor.” Then I shut up.

Of course, I still make mistakes – every day every hour, probably but there is progress, on the whole, I think. I hope!

Reflection Works!

Aside

I am feeling chained no more! The Church Guy can only ever be a friend. All this navel-gazing, counselling (Christian or otherwise), reading and thinking has helped tremendously. If I had not done all this I could have ended up as one of those women who hangs on to the hope of getting love from someone, who is lovely but can not love me in the way I need to be loved. That’s not attractive at any age but definitely not at this time of life.

Result.