Category: tuppenny thought


30th December 2015

This is the last post for “Sundry Times”. Writing and posting something at least once a week for five years has been an interesting challenge. Having the possibility of sharing on this blog, I have learnt to look through a camera differently; no longer just taking snapshots and landscapes but also looking for curious shapes and patterns.

I have dared to share some of my poetry – I don’t claim any particular merit but I have taken a bit more care over them, sharpening phrases, typesetting lines etc with the thought that someone just might want to read them out loud. And I have mixed all this up with prayers, politics and jokes in the believe that “It is all of a piece”: we have one life with many accents and colours but not separate holy, secular, spiritual, natural, work and home lives.

I hope that you have found something of value here, some gold among the grit.

The main reason for “Sundry Times Too” is that I have more or less used up all the memory here so I need some space for more photos. The other reason is that I started this blog as a way out of a nervous breakdown. I still have my “unexpected lows” but I am in a much better place than I was in 2010 but I want to mark my moving on by moving on to another, though similar blog.

God bless

kangerew

french flag Unfortunately the murders in Paris yesterday are neither the first and unlikely to be the last of their kind but fact does not make them any less personal or painful. This week’s collect (special prayer in Church) seems apposite:

Almighty Father, your will is to restore all things in your beloved Son, the king of all. Govern the hearts and minds of those in authority, and bring the families of the nations, divided and torn apart by the ravages of sin, to be subject to his just and gentle rule. Amen.

“It is not the refugees who create terrorism but terrorism that causes refugees.” (anon on the internet)

Peace be with you.

In December of this year this blog will be five years old. Originally I started writing as one way of coping with depression. I have never intended to write about depression as such but I have discovered that writing, humour and making a point of taking an interest in things have all contributed to building resilience. It is not true to say that I now no longer get depressed. It is true for me to say that depression is less frequent, usually (!) not as low as before and that I have some strategies to help. Depression is managed rather than cured. The most important strategy is permission to tell a couple of trusted people when I am feeling low without them assuming that my world is about to fall apart. Often the fact that I can say what is going on in my thoughts and feelings helps to deny depression of some of its power.

Over the years I have used “Sundry Times” as a place to share what I love about England, to post photographs that have caught my imagination and to pass on the least worst jokes that have come my way. I have included prayers and reflections as well. When I began “Depression” was the biggest tag, then “Resilience”. They are still there on the tag cloud but they are no longer number one.

This is not a valedictory piece but at the end of the year I shall retire this blog for the simple reason that I am running out of memory and prefer not to have to buy on-line storage. Instead, look out for “Sundry Times Too” which I am in the process of setting up and will go live at the end of 2015/beginning of 2016. I will post a link nearer the time.

Thank you for taking the trouble to read this.

God bless, Kangerew

It has to be said that…

…sometimes only the passive voice will do.

God save the Queen …

Union Flag… and God bless us all.

 

 

Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant,
we thank you that you have given Elizabeth our Queen a heart to serve her people,
and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her:
encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good,
until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom.
Amen.

(prayer from the Church of England website)

… so you decide to clean the mirror.

I recently attended a day course to raise awareness about domestic abuse. This is something I knew existed but, like many people I suppose, I assumed that it was rare and did not affect anyone I knew. You see, domestic violence, which is one kind of abuse, does not broadcast itself on the estate where I live. It all happens in another part of town.

Well, I learnt that that is just not true. The statistics were frighteningly high and there are psychological abuse and financial abuse as well as the more-reported sexual and physical abuses. My fellow students and I did struggle with some definitions. We could see how some incidents in isolation, while still wrong, did not amount to a pattern of abuse. For example, a sarcastic remark, a put-down, a criticism of your partner’s appearance is something many of us have said or heard – and regret afterwards. And it would be easy to excuse someone’s poor behaviour with a dismissive “but we’ve all done that” or, worse, ” what goes on behind closed doors is none of our business”.

The fact is that criticism can be used to put someone in their place and keep them there. The jokes at their expense gradually undermine their self-confidence until there is little of none left. Gradually, you have them under your control.The abuse is verbal and not a single smack of the fist is needed.

Then there is money: who controls the purse strings? Now, we had some discussion about this because some of us recognise that in some marriages one person may be more competent/confident in managing the money. That is OK if you are in the habit in trying to explain what is going on from time to time, insist that both of you see the financial advisor and you do not have everything in your own name: there must be some discretion for each of you and a level of trust that does not have to account for every single penny. By contrast, we heard about one instance where one partner worked and earned more than the other. The man took both their wages and she had to ask for some of her own money back – which he resisted and resented. To help make the distinction one member of our family said that it was one thing to be in charge of the money and another to be in control. In other words, one of us might be responsible for the finances but not in a dictatorial sort of way.

There was a lot more in the course but I think one of the key lessons was to realise that abuse is the result of one partner/family member wanting complete control over the other. It was as if they saw themselves in the other person and did not like what they saw. So, instead of sorting themselves out they tried to sort the other one out: “When he sees his dirty face in the mirror, he cleans the mirror”.

The message for the church is two-fold. Firstly, if we want our churches to be safe places for people to come then we need to recognise that it is likely that there are some in our congregations who are abused or who are abusers: their public persona may be wonderful and they may even be in church leadership.

Secondly, abuse is not part of God’s plan. Abuse violates the marriage covenant: there are vows to love and to cherish and to honour; there are none which permit abuse, physical violence or otherwise. Jesus tells us to love one another (John chapter 15 verse 12) and if this is true of his disciples then it applies no less to families. “God is love, and those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.” (1 John chapter 4 verse 16, NRSV)

There are a number of places you can go if this affects you. I found this link to restoredrelationships.org worth a look. In this country there are now dedicated units in the police, the National Domestic Violence Helpline and Childline as well. For the churches there is also the Churches’ Child Protection Advisory Service (CCPAS) with further advice and information.

Incidentally, we learnt that while most domestic abuse is perpetrated by men on women (for which there is most research, and hence the main focus of our course), there is also abuse women on men; by men on men and by women on women.

A prayer for the home

Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, you shared at Nazareth the life of an earthly home. Reign in the home of your servants as Lord and King. Give them grace to minister to others as you have ministered to them. Grant that by deed and word they may be witnesses of your saving love to those among whom they live; for the sake of your holy name. Amen. (from Common Worship: Pastoral Services p 161)

New look

It has been over four years since I started this little venture so I decided to freshen things up a little. Whether or not you like the changes the content is much the same!

There is plenty of comment and news about the UK general election on the web and other media. I don’t propose to tell you whom to vote for. There are two reasons for this. The first is that while I do have political preferences (see here for the issues I think are most important), I would rather you made up you mind based on sound principles and values rather than by being nagged by someone like me. Secondly, I do not want one political party to have power alone; I much prefer it when parties work together. Despite some obvious failings (refer here to your particular issue), I think the Coalition has worked pretty well. The government has not fallen apart, the two parties were able to work together most of the time and yet fall out with each other from time to time. If they never argued I would have been more suspicious.

Meanwhile we are told that we have a choice of only two who may become Prime Minister. While that is most likely, it is possible that another party could steal a march on the others unexpectedly. In thinking that we only have a choice of two it would easy to forget that the two (currently) largest parties are minority parties. Whichever party you vote for is a minority party.

That is something that has changed in this country during this century. It has been suggested that if the “didn’t vote” part of the electorate were a political party they would be the largest of them all. And, yes, it too would be a minority party.

So, if I were to give my fellow-citizens any advice it would be this: vote for the minority party of your choice, you do not have to choose one of the two bigger ones if you don’t want to.

We like the freedom to choose – some of us in the UK will still remember when there were only three TV channels and they did not broadcast throughout the night. These days, not only are there more channels but with things like iPlayer we can decide when to watch our favourite programmes as well. With a box of chocolates, we like to choose our favourites and opinion is divided on whether coffee- or strawberry creams are yummy additions or vile interlopers among the other nicer chocolates. For me the ultimate chocolate choice is between a smooth truffle and a soft, liquid caramel that melts in the mouth.

We also like the freedom to say what we think, to express an idea and to try to persuade others of our point of view. With a General Election coming up we will find people from various parties (and none) trying to get us to cast our vote in favour of their party and to support their ideas of what is best for the country. So arguments about broadcasting leaders’ debates are not just about the logistics involved in organising them but are also about how many differing voices and opinions get to be heard.

Recently, there has been some controversy about “freedom of expression”. Some would argue that any and every opinion should be allowed to express itself no matter how stupid or unpleasant some may be; others would say that there are limits if, for example, someone is trying to incite violence or is encouraging others to commit a crime. On some occasions it is better to keep quiet. The hard part is saying who is to decide what you can and cannot say or when you can say it. If we nominate some public authority to tell us, we stand in danger of censorship that only permits a narrow range of opinion to be expressed. The result could be that some views are suppressed and we miss out on the unusual but useful idea. If we have no limits, then we lay the ground for unnecessary offence for some and hurt for others.

Christians prize the freedom to be able to present the gospel to the world. They cherish the freedom to express an alternative life-style to the “rat race”; as well as offering alternatives to the violence we see in the world and to apparently limitless consumption. They want the opportunity to be able to point to Jesus: as our example to follow, as well as being our friend and saviour. Christians are in favour of freedom.

I would say that that freedom of expression includes the freedom to speak out and the freedom to hold one’s tongue; freedom to poke fun at the pompous, freedom to respect those with whom we disagree. You may have the right to print rubbish but you are not compelled to do so, and we do not have to read it either.

How should Christians decide what to say, print, or broadcast? I would suggest two simple principles based on these questions: is it true? That does not exclude jokes or fiction but does challenge us to be honest about our intentions. Secondly, is it in keeping with the two greatest commandments to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbours as ourselves? We may not get it right all the time but the freedom we are encouraged to seek is not the freedom to tell lies, it is the freedom to speak and live the truth about God.

Jesus said, “The truth shall set you free” (John chapter 8 verse 32)

“How is married life?”

“Married life is a mousetrap on the tortilla chips” (instead of using a clip)
😉

She is clothed with strength and Old Navy jeans

I have been married for almost 6 months now. (“Awww!”) When you get engaged people ask you all kinds of questions;

“When is the big day?”

“How many bridesmaids do you have?”

“Are you excited?”

“Are you ready?”

“Are you sure you want to get married so young?”

“Where are you going on your honeymoon?”

But now that I’m married I mostly hear only one question.

“How is married life?”

I usually say something along the lines of “It’s good, I like it.” How do you answer this question? Marriage is so much more than good. I have had a hard time encompassing what marriage is like. Today, I opened the cabinet to get a bag of chips and I found the answer to the question.

chips

My husband used a mouse trap as a chip clip. We have chip clips, four of them. But this is what I found in…

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