Today is… 16th June 2021
What I’ve been up to today… I’ve had a really varied day today. It began with some admin chasing up my Deacon’s stole, then an enquiry about the burial of some ashes, and booking a minister for the service. Then I was interviewed by a journalist for the Church Times about my calling to ministry, and then I did the first session of a two-session Safeguarding course. After that I had a meeting about some work to be done at one of the churches where I am serving, and then it was Evening Prayer online. In between that I have created some slides for Sunday’s online service ahead of it being recorded tomorrow night, finished off some bits of sewing that’s been hanging around my table for a day or so, done some housework and cooked a meal. It has felt busy, but not a burden – I like it!
What I see from my window… a very cloudy sky. It has been wall to wall sunshine for most of the day today, but there is thunder threatened on the forecast and by the look of the gathering clouds I can see that it might be hitting us in the next few hours.
On my mind is… my ordination. It is only about two weeks away now, and before that I’ve got some things I need to do to prepare for it and to finish off before taking that big step. We were supposed to be going on retreat as a cohort for three days before the ordination service, but due to the extension of the lockdown guidance from the government this week it has been cancelled. We will be having it on Zoom instead, which though it isn’t surprising, it is very disappointing. I was looking forward to being away from home for a couple of days to clear my head and to focus on what it is I’m being called for, and to take some time out to put aside some of the “stuff” that I’ve gathered over the years. I am going to make alternative arrangements to be out of the house for two of the three days instead, but it’s not the same as spending it in fellowship with my colleagues on a theological retreat. I hope that J and J will join me if they can.
My prayers are for… all ordinands who are in the same stage of their ministry as I am, and my prayer is that they find the space and peace in the coming weeks to focus on the one who has called us all to his service.
My hope is … that the extension to the lifting of restrictions is the final one, and that by the time 19th July rolls around we will be in a better position to protect people from the worst of the virus, and it is safe to resume more normal activities. Part of my hope is that the vaccine rollout is successful here in the UK, and that we can support the vaccination programs in the rest of the world where the infrastructure isn’t the same as here.
A recent lesson I have learned… is to measure, measure and measure again before I cut out fabric. I was gutted the other day when I made myself a beautiful clergy top out of dark blue cotton, which was based on a pattern from Sew Me Something and altered so it was longer and a bit wider to take account of the non-stretch quality of cotton rather than jersey. I was so happy with it because, I had inserted the invisible zip perfectly, attached the collar really neatly and accurately, and the sleeves were inset without any gaps or holes for a change. But I made the cardinal error of not checking that the pattern pieces were going to fit me before I cut the fabric and sewed it up and the ruddy thing was too small. ARGH!! It was tight around my arms, squeezed the breath out of my body when I tried to sit down and the collar nearly choked me.
I was so annoyed with myself! As a consequence, I decided to start from scratch, and I taught myself to create a block for myself, from which I drafted a clergy shirt (using the collar pieces from the SMS pattern previously) and I then made a toile – WHICH ACTUALLY FITS!! A toile is a kind of test garment which is made out of waste or spare fabric, and it is intended as a dry run of the final piece. I’ve never made one before and I was so relieved that I could do it and it worked. I’m trying to summon up the bravery (and time) now to try it on actual fabric, which I might try over the weekend.
I am thankful… that I have got such supportive friends and family around me at the minute. I have received so much encouragement and help recently, and I am grateful for everyone who is there for me when I need them.
Lately I have made… apart from the mess I made of the dark blue clergy top, I have made 12 new face masks for myself, my husband and my son. You’ll perhaps not be surprised to know that they are all made from dark blue cotton…. mwahahahaahaaaaa
Top of my reading list is… “Making a Scene in the Pulpit” by Alyce M McKenzie. It’s a brilliant book about how to preach a sermon that packs a punch for people who are visual learners. It bumps up squarely against my creative writing experience and it is filling me with all sorts of ideas and confidence of how I can step up my preaching practice.
I am getting square eyes from watching… “Clarkson’s Farm” on Amazon Prime. Oh my word… it’s BRILLIANT. I am not a big fan of Jeremy Clarkson, and when my son asked us to watch it with him the other night, I agreed simply because I didn’t want to move off the settee when he put it on. I’m glad I stuck with it though because it is utterly captivating, funny, sad, moving, thought provoking, inspiring and downright entertaining. The premise is that Clarkson has owned farmland for about 10 years or so but up til recently has had someone in to manage it and work it for him, but that person has now retired and Clarkson decided to give it a go himself. He has got lots of help from farming professionals and neighbouring farmers, but the standout star of his entourage is Kaleb Cooper, a 22 year old lad who is not frightened of telling Clarkson exactly where he’s gone wrong, and their banter is pure TV gold. I heartily recommend it to anyone who is even vaguely interested in farming, because there is so much in it that is appealing to lots of people it is definitely worth watching.
My relaxation sounds are… “The Seventh Victim” by Michael Wood. It is an audio book that I have been listening to while I have been sewing and tidying up this week. It’s a story about a woman who for 25 years was convinced that her son had been kidnapped and murdered by a particular serial killer, but after he dies, she finds a confessional letter from him in which he says it wasn’t him who had killed her son. She sets out to find out if this is the truth or not, and if it is true, then who did kill her son all those years ago? It is voiced by the wonderful actor Joanne Froggatt, with some chapters by Matthew Horne. I’m about two thirds of the way through and I think I can see where it’s heading, but maybe there’s a couple of twists along the way?
My plans for tomorrow… I have to take my ID documents to the Registrar, will be leading a Bible Study, delivering a gift to a special lady, and I have two sermons to write. A quiet day really.
Grace and peace