Really?

I started a blog post with this quote below, wrote for nearly half an hour then some how it all vanished. The fascinating bit was that it was all about asking God to give us tasks too hard for us to cope with so that we come back to Him! Hummm!! But now I will fill my post full of Eleanor Roosevelt quotes 🙂

Eleanor Roosevelt

“Our Father, who has set a restlessness in our hearts and made us all seekers after that which we can never fully find, forbid us to be satisfied with what we make of life. Draw us from base content and set our eyes on far-off goals. Keep us at tasks too hard for us that we may be driven to Thee for strength. Deliver us from fretfulness and self-pitying; make us sure of the good we cannot see and of the hidden good in the world. Open our eyes to simple beauty all around us and our hearts to the loveliness men hide from us because we do not try to understand them. Save us from ourselves and show us a vision of a world made new.”

So I will still post the quote and try to remember some of what I wrote. I don’t know about other bloggers but once I’ve written it is like its gone from my brain!

It was to do with being challenged about our move to Wales and being asked if either I was running away from the pain of the last 3+ years and then also I was “truly healed” to  be able to go,  and me feeling like I would never be truly healed but that that was ok. That I want to be up for leaning on God not on being totally healed.

We are not going to open this house to others so that they come and give us what we want to get healed. We want to open our home to others so that through our experiences and our scars we can show others that life isn’t hopeless. It’s not even to heal but to encourage, to give hope, vision and purpose. It’s about learning to live with the scars of life not to feel sorry for ourselves but to show we can keep going, can still not just dream dreams but make them happen, to show that there is life beyond.

To quote Richard Rohr:

The huge surprise of the Christian revelation is that the place of the wound is the place of the greatest gift. Our code phrase for this whole process is “cross and resurrection,” revealing that our very wounds can become sacred wounds, if we let them.

And this is the thing, we want to let our scars become sacred wounds that God can use to bring something to the rest of the world. Ok so maybe not the rest of the world but those people He will bring across our path. And not for us to heal them because the task is to big for us, and we have learned that, but for Him to do as He wills with each one of them.

So we take our scars, our far off goals, our restlessness and we let God have it all as we continue on this journey – not just to Wales but to all that He has for us. We are not healed, a long way from it, but we moved into a deeper relationship with God not based on what we do or what He does but on who we are and who He is.

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Back To The Future Day

I wasn’t going to write because I’ve got too much to do and also I’m not feeling great but felt compelled to. As the quote says “Back to the Future will now take part entirely in the the past”. I saw all 3 of the Back to The Future films in the cinema and then on TV. Never sure why I liked them but ..

And as Sally Ann says today 21st October is significant in the use of the number 21 – the coming of age number – and I quote:

To me 21 denotes a breakthrough and the number of maturity when young people historically got ‘the key of the door’… Daniel in the Old Testament fasted for 3 weeks – 3×7=21 – and an angel appeared to him at the end of that time: now that’s what I call a breakthrough!

So today, the 21st day of October we got breakthrough – in that we sold our house, offer totally accepted, and had the offer of our new house accepted – and it feels a bit like maturity – because now we step out into the unknown but as grown ups. We are breaking ties, gaining something that is ours totally (as in this house will be in joint names whereas the house we are in now is just in my husband’s name). And also it was 3 weeks today that, after getting back from Wales, our estate agent came round and put this house on the market. Another of those 21 days! And also from now on we start writing our future, a future that is ours, that is different, that we cannot predict at all.

Something interesting too – often when I can’t get to sleep I daydream about having a room of my own that I can decorate and also being close to the sea. Now it doesn’t help me to go to sleep because the dream is becoming a reality. Our future is standing like a blank page waiting to be written. You know it feels like it did just before we got married – that tumbling excitement of stepping into the unknown with the one you love 🙂

So what’s the Vision? What’s the big idea?

‘ve stolen this line from the poem “The Vision” but I think it sums up what we’re up to. Ours is not some big website ministry. The Vision Ian and I have is a little one; a front line out of sight living life vision. As my friend John Bell would say “We’re doing Life” – with a capital L.

So what is the Vision? The Vision isn’t Wales – though God has led us there through our love of the country, our love of beach, mountains, walking, and the people of Wales – and when we are there we will be praying for the land we’ll be standing on, and interacting with the people. But the location is almost incidental without that sounding disrespectful to the country that is accepting us. No the Vision is also the house and the space in the house’ the space for us to grow to be more like God intended us to be and to help and support other people to grow into their God given destiny. So what it is is

the front garden

the space. We asked for 6 bedrooms, 2 living rooms and a big communal space. What are these spaces for? This is the important part of the Vision.  We can “see” a space to have a lodger living full time with us as part of our family, with the whole giving and receiving that comes with family. Plus we want to be able to do the Airbnb thing more; having holiday makers, travellers and business people pass through our home. This is something we have enjoyed doing already but have found our little house a bit too cramped. We have been able to host Chinese, Londoners. Polish, Brummies, Australians, Americans, Lithuanians, Bulgarians, French, Italians, Indians, others from across the UK, some who have been working in the area, some who are holidaying, some who are on long term travelling, some who need to talk and eat with us, some who want some space. All of which has taken some discerning. We like doing it via Airbnb because then we can be a spare room in a family home rather than having to comply to all the regulations that come with official Bed and breakfasting.

So that is 2 bedrooms with functions. We also feel like we would love to have our own separate spaces. We were both single for a long time and it has been a challenge to get use to living and sharing our space, but we have done well and are enjoying it, but it is like to expand as who we are we could do with “a room of my own”. For me it will be to write, to be able to leave my writings out and not have to tidy up, to be able to have books piled about so I can pick up when I want, and for room to study, though as to what the study and where it will go I do not know. For Ian it will be a place to explore, to work from home and also to not have to tidy away because this house now is too small for us both to leave things out.

Two more bedrooms with functions. Then of course we will have our bedroom and that leaves one more bedroom. This will be for our children and for our friends; a place where those we already know can come and be with us, can enjoy what we have got, can walk on the beach, can be revived and refreshed.

The reason for the space downstairs? We believe there was need for a communal space where every one could draw

the kitchen/diner viewed from standing in the kitchen

together. Plus a living room for us to relax in and another living area that was just for us as a family so we could withdraw when need be.  This house we hope to get has a kitchen/diner with one end a lovely square cooking space, with breakfast bar, that then reaches into a space for a reasonable size table (6-8 places) and room for a couch too. The reason for 2 living rooms is, much as we want to share our lives, we also want space to withdraw. We also found with the Airbnb guests there were times when one of our children needed just us but there was no place to withdraw and just chill out. So the front living room will be our family space alone and then the other one will be for sharing. There will be times when we have a lot of guests and the functions of the rooms will have to change but that’s ok. This is very much God’s house and He will have His way. We hope that it will be filled with love, laughter, prayers and tears. We’ve done too much of life to know that tears are very much a part of real life and that is what we want this place to be.

So this is The Vision. This is the Big Idea. As Habakkuk 2:2 says “write the vision plainly so the runners can run with it/so that it can be read on the move”. Here is our vision written plainly so we can keep moving ever closer to it. Unless it is written clearly it is easy to settle for second best. In fact when we were house hunting we so knew that God wanted us in this area that we almost settled for a house that did not have what the Vision called for. It is so easy to  miss out when it isn’t written down.

It is also like God has given us this house vision and then the desire for the area but also kept us in mind to our needs. Things like the need for a large attic because we do still carry a lot of our children’s belongings, which gives them freedom to travel and explore the world unhindered, but also we have things that we would like to keep too, as well as Ian have all his outdoor stuff which will be so important to him when we are so much closer to “the big outdoors”.

Sometimes I think we get afraid to write it large and write it bold and stick to it. I know we have which is why it took us so long to get here. But we cannnot look back on shoulds and oughts but only keep on going forward, ever growing.

Trust! God!

We’re on the move

We are on the move, my husband and I. Some people have advised caution, said “don’t move too fast” but in fact this has all been a long time coming. Nearly nine years in fact! We have got close and then things have changed but we have held in there, often without knowing it.

So on our honeymoon my husband had this big download from God about our home being a place of safety for others. He got words and pictures and all sorts. So we pottered on letting this happen around us, for my children, for people God dropped into our lives along the way. We got hurt and confused at times by what it was all about. We had people that we had spent time with moving on to other things and not even speaking to us. In hindsight we have realised that this is what the “vision” had all been about but wasn’t easy. Then came the big crash three and a half years ago when people we had been praying for took their own lives, either deliberately or by accident. That shatters one’s trust in the vision and in God. We had been told we were a safe place and those we’d been praying for and who had come under our roof took choices that led to their lives being cut short. Where did the vision go then? Buried!!

Though not quite. It simmered away. We both kept niggling at it without realising but we had lost our trust in God to do His bit. We never walked away from Him. Like Peter said when Jesus asked him if he was going to leave as others were doing, it was “where else can we go?” But there had been a shift in the relationship. I believe we spent the last two years rebuilding our trust in God, because it has only been just over two years since my father-in-law died. Someone else we’d been praying for and hoping to become well again.

So the Vision was written large nearly nine years ago. We wanted to run with it but weren’t able to – to being with because of our own lack of experience and also lack of space, but then because of things beyond our control unsettling us. We needed to grieve. We needed to regroup. We needed time. We needed to be bold enough to look at the Vision. Interestingly we didn’t do anything deliberate to bring it back to the surface. It all happened in an roundabout sort of way. So yes it would be possible to say that we are moving quickly but in fact we’re not.

And we are still trying to learn to trust. It’s odd but I can see it when we wait for someone to buy our house. It isn’t happening fast enough which at one time I would have said was a great way for us to learn patience but now I’m struggling because that trust that God can and will has slide. But actually it makes us rounder people, I believe, more able to support those who’ve been hurt because we’ve been there too. But trust is such a hard thing to regain.

And as I think of regaining trust in God I think of people in my life, not just those who’ve died but those who are still alive, who’ve hurt me, broken my trust. In all cases it is hard to trust again, but God seems to have led us to a place where we are having to trust Him to sell our house and led us to our “Promised land!” 🙂

Good Morning 2015!

My Facebook status this morning was “Good morning 2015! What’s the plan?”

There is so much for me that is new and strange about this year. I start it with no job. Never in my life had a not had a job. Most of the jobs I have had have been menial jobs due to my love of travel, fear of sticking at anything, and from home schooling my children. But every year I’ve had some form of job; paper round, leaflet delivering, Avon, bar work, packing job, and also some “real” jobs too – bank clerk, office worker, typesetter – and even two new years where I was “in ministry” which actually involved lots of admin and counselling work. But this year I start without a job of any kind due to an incident with my previous job which led me to feel that I needed to leave.

So a new year, a new blog, a new direction! This year will be more planned; not just my blogging but also my career plan. It seems odd to be 53 and only just really starting on a career plan. I have just completed a degree and have finished the first module of an MSc but these have been things, like with  ministry or previous jobs, that I have “fallen into.” I now feel that the reason I had to leave my previous job, even though it was very painful and I’m still aching from the scars, is so I can become directional. I have never seen myself as a reactionary person but in reality life-wise I am. This is all very new.

In fact it has been a very new start to the year. This year, 2015, I woke to a house all alone. My husband has just spent the last few days in the Peak District with old university friends and their families, 60+ of them in one youth hostel. I am becoming more of an introvert as I grow older, or maybe admitting to it more, and knew I could not cope with all those people, and also needed some space after the trauma of giving up my job. He’s been away like this before but normally I have my daughter with me, but this year she went to Edinburgh with friends. She realised this was the first time in her 21 years she’d ever been away just with friends. Previous times she’d travelled or gone on holiday had been with me or with an organised camp. A new year! So I saw out the old year and in the new without any other human contact for the first time ever. As a child I had my parents, before children I did the expected party thing, even as a single mum I had my kids in the house. I wasn’t totally alone because I had the dog on the bed with me. Dog and I were in bed by 10.30pm and slept most of the way through though he did growl gently at midnight when our street exploded with fireworks and singing.

All I have brought into 2015 apart from relationships with family and friends is my MSc in using creative writing for therapeutic purposes. I started this at the end of September 2014 so am only one term into it. My first assignment is due in on 10th January. I am almost there on the word count.

Adventure sounds like it should be crazy and full of unknowns, which I know it will be, but also for me the adventure will be to walk boldly in a direction not just jump from branch to branch. I am a planner in the ordinary course of life, needing things on the calendar, needing to know when everyone will be home, etc but it has struck me how I don’t do that with my life wider. I have never looked at my gifts and talents in a way that would take me in a certain direction. I have been insensitive with blogging as I have splurged across the page my thoughts and feelings, hurts and pains. Even my blogging is going to become more directional. To become something in the world of creative writing for therapeutic purposes one needs to be an established writer of sorts. I want to be a blogger. I’ve always wanted my work read and now I will do in a way that will be something I will be proud to have read.

So “Aspirational Adventures” has been so named because I am going to spend time looking at what I wish to aspire to become and how I will journey to find that place. Every journey is an adventure 🙂

From a friend in response to my Facebook status “2015 is the Year of Plenty – as in plenty of good things, a sense of abundance, nothing to do with greed or acquiring stuff. It is also about realising all of the good things we have.”

The year of plenty is where I’m going, that feeling of abundance, of being grateful for what I have.This is the adventure I aspire to walk in.