Advent 18

It’s getting harder… I’m frustrated and fed up today. In the small pockets where I wasn’t frustrated and fractious I managed to give the talk for our Christmas Day service on our doorstep, a talk that reminded me that I have a Good Shepherd, who holds me in arms of love and leads me tenderly. Ah I need to remember that tonight as I wearily write at the end of another long day. I lay down my frustrations and clamber into arms that hold me and remind me that it is ok not to be in control.

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Advent 17

Tonight I write from a tired and slightly fed up with isolation space. It feels hard to dig for the wonder and yet as my mind floats over the day I know it was there. It was there in moments of joy at hanging out with my boys (easy to forget at this point in the day). In delight at realising how much easier this stay at home with them for 10 days is than if we had done it 2 or more years ago. They have grown and are more fun, we have laughed, huggled and played fun games today (again I must remember these good things because all I really have in my mind are the snappy annoying bits as I try and persuade them into bed). There was wonder in the cake delivered randomly and anonymously to our door (well the boys and husbandface will find wonder in that, fat free is a hugely annoying way to eat at the moment..).

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Advent 16

We made it over the hump day of our lockdown time (all being well…) 5 more days to go. The wonder came in swirls after a long crazy night with an unsettled youngest. But it was there. It came in being played Jamie Cullum’s Age of Anxiety in zoom staff team this morning, these lyrics getting to me every time I hear it… “‘Cause I hold onto you, And you hold onto me, A tiny victory in The Age of Anxiety”. Despite these odd times we hold onto each other and that feels very special indeed. I feel very held by friends who care, by our lovely neighbours on our road and the general sense that we aren’t alone despite not having left our house for 5 days.

The wonder also came in the laughter of the boys, the singing of various Hamilton songs, they do a pretty ropey Guns and Ships which is genius to listen to. It was found in kicking a ball around in the garden whilst the sun shone, in a cup of tea outside, in tie dying t-shirts and in playing games together. I finish today grateful for the details of this life, deeply enjoying the tiny victories.

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Advent 15

I think today I got some feels about Advent, about this Christmas time. The last few weeks have been full of illness and now lockdown and nothing has felt like ‘Christmas’ at all (to borrow a line). Today though I read a beautiful poem in my Waiting on the Word book – a collection of poems and reflections on them by Malcolm Guite. Today’s poem was Christmas and the Common Birth by Anne Ridler. I think it was the link between childbirth and this remembrance of the child birth that we do each year which got me. These lines especially made me stop and pay attention:

To bear new life or learn to live is an exacting joy:

The whole self must waken; you cannot predict the way

It will happen, or master the responses beforehand.

I love the truth spoken here, it is an exacting joy to bear new life and learn to live, it’s unpredictable, life emerges and takes shape and is beyond our control. Becoming and being a mother has felt entirely like that. I am strangely comforted by these words, it feels good to know that it is an exacting joy to learn to live, that it doesn’t come easy but there is something wonderful going on. You can make your own links to the coming of Jesus but I sense that in the birth of our Emmanuel something like this is happening, that our whole selves are being wakened again to new realities. I wonder if these are different each time we remember, each time we walk through this part of the year. I wonder if each year we need something different from this ancient story woven into our lives. I wonder what I need this year. I wonder what you might need.

In other news we survived another day of isolation. We made biscuits, played in the garden, did lots of hama beads, read more of The Voyage of the Dawntreader, watched Coco and played a new board game. All in all a pretty good day. Wonder is still lurking.

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Advent 14

It’s kind of felt like we have lived about 5 days today. Lockdown without being able to go for walks is not all that fun. Still. There was wonder to be found in all the lovely friends we have asking if they can help, bringing food to our doorstep, bringing magazines for the boys and offering help and love from afar. We feel loved.

We also made snowflakes (harder than I remember from school), had crackers with lunch to make up for the boys missing their school Christmas lunch this week, saw some blue sky, played in the garden, managed an hours quiet time and watched Toy Story 4.

We also saw the changes on a bush in our garden, stripped of its leaves all that is left is buds for the spring. I love that these are there now, just waiting, like we all are, for the light of spring.

Best of all was reading this delicious poem from my poem a day in advent book.

Autumn by David Baird

Was certainly not winter, scholars say,

When holy habitation broke the chill

Of hearth-felt separation, icy still,

The love of life in man that Christmas day.

Was autumn, rather, if seasons speak true;

When green retreats from sight’s still ling’ring gaze,

And creeping cold numbs sense in sundry ways,

While settling silence speaks of solitude.

Hope happens when conditions are as these;

Comes finally lock-armed with death and sin,

When deep’ning dark demands its full display.

Then fallen nature driven to her knees

Flames russet, auburn, orange fierce from within,

And bush burns brighter for the growing grey.

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Advent 13

Today didn’t quite go as planned. We found out me and the boys have to self isolate for 10 days. So the wonder might get pretty dull from now on. But we will make the best of it. Slow and quiet is after all what our December seems to be about this year. More enforced rest can’t be all that bad. We got to watch Elf today as well. Christmas movies will get us through these days. Also, now the kids are in bed, we are settling down for some Die Hard.

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Advent 12

Wonder found despite a tired fractious day. It was at least a good start on a short walk up the hill to remember what morning walks feel like. Strange to be out again after 2 or more weeks. Sad that I still need to rest but trying to listen to the trees as they whispered their stillness to me.

I walked out into winter 
Left in autumn
Now three weeks past
And the land whispered silently
we are here.
We’ve stopped.
Heard you have too.
I gazed on the quiet still trees.
Stopped.
Gathered in.
Waiting. and
I stopped too.
Reassured. It’s ok
To rest.
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Advent 11

Wonder is felt today in the details. In a body slowly feeling more like itself. In a clean house. In the sun shining on my moment of sitting with a book and a cup of tea. In another firepit, toasting marshmallows with excellent friends and enjoying fat free sugar. In chats on the phone with one of my favourites and in a glass of wine as the day spins to it’s end.

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Advent 10

Digging deep for the wonder today, as I sit here I just want to moan about being tired and Decembery (it’s a word… maybe…). But. Wonder is there for the taking and so today the pockets were found in a lovely chat with the person cutting my hair, both of us overexcited to talk to someone different. It was found in the first and last Christmas shopping experience of the year, in wandering the streets of Brighton again and enjoying the quirky joy of our city despite these odd times. It was found in chatting with a friend in the park before pick up. The dark feels pretty dark this time of year but the droplets of wonder are ever before me..

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Advent 9

Another day, another firepit. Wonder found today in meeting with the excellent Sam and Dave (One Church ministers rather than the soul duo) around a firepit in the back garden. I love being team with these guys, I love our chats, the honesty, the vulnerability and the fun we have together. Lovely also to have time to pray meaningfully and not be on stupid zoom. Wonder also found in the eldest going back to school and being ok and a glimpse of hope in getting a date for my scan to see if I have gallstones and whether this no fat diet over Christmas is worth doing.

Wonder also found in this question from my advent book this morning- “In whose story is God inviting me to participate?”. Mulling that one all day.

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