Looking out my window… it’s raining and we are forecast more snow overnight.
I am thinking… about submitting a short story to a competition. But which one? And which competition?
I am thankful… that I managed to finish my assignment today. A screenplay of just the right length (15 minutes), a commentary that was plumb on the 1000 word limit and a proposal for my final piece which was also bob on the 300 word limit. Actually, I’m not so much thankful as rather smug this evening!
One of my favourite things… is making a game out of deadlines and word counts.
I am creating… some crotchet blanket squares. I’m trying a new pattern which hopefully will look like a Celtic knot, but it’s a bit tricky so far.
I am wearing… long legged pyjama bottoms in bed at the minute. It’s a bit cold out there isn’t it?
I am reading … the new Elly Griffiths book which was delivered to my Kindle today. It is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series, which I love. Book review coming up.
I am praying… for healing in certain quarters. The Lord knows where.
I am learning… how to write effective (and hopefully interesting) screenplay.
In my kitchen… it’s the week before payday so we had one of our standby favourites tonight. Pasta, chorizo, peas and prawns with a bit of cheese on top. Delish!
Post Script… this week is the hundredth anniversary of the Act of Parliament that allowed certain women the right to vote in the UK. I wrote a post about it the other day and what it means for us in our society today. I’d love it if you would have a little read for me and leave me a comment on it. I want to have a conversation in particular about what the notion of “equality” means for us in our society today.
Closing Notes… I was sent a link to this video a few days ago and we sang it tonight at study group. It’s based on Psalm 92 and I thought you might like to have a listen too. Enjoy Graham Kendrick singing one of his new songs
Outside my window… Storm Eleanor is gearing up and we’re battening down the hatches for her to hit tomorrow sometime
I am thinking… about a story that is floating round my head that came to me in the night. Now, before you go thinking that writers are gifted stories all the time, this one was the result of about 4 hours tossing and turning, arguing with myself and having conversations with people that I know will never happen. In an attempt to try and get those negative thoughts turned off I started reciting nursery rhymes and was struck by Little Bo Peep and how that simple little rhyme could be turned into a three act/scene play. The next two hours of insomnia were spent jotting down notes and working out the what if’s and what then’s of a potential story. Inspiration doesn’t just strike, it’s a result of a lot of things!
I am thankful… that our NHS has been able to treat me, my husband and my son over the Christmas holiday. We have all been pretty ill at one stage or another and needed various stages of medical support in the last couple of days. Today’s thankfulness is the urgent treating of my husband’s kidney stone and subsequent water infection
I am praying for… a swift recovery for all of us so we can crack on with what needs to be done
I am creating… reams of notes
I am going… to try and do some studying tomorrow. I’m a bit behind the calendar but nothing that I can’t catch up
I am wondering… if I’m going to need further antibiotics for this horrible throat infection
I am reading… “Origin” by Dan Brown. It’s very much in the same mode as “The Da Vinci Code” et al, but it’s an entertaining read and quite thought provoking
I am hoping… my husband has a restful night tonight
I am learning… that the older I get, the longer it takes to shake illness off
In my garden… the bins have been blown all over, the fence panel has detached itself from its moorings and the shrubbery is looking a bit tattered. It’s stormy out there tonight!
In my kitchen… had this for lunch/dinner/tea today. A vegetable base, lamb stock, pearl barley and split peas with some leftover lamb from Mum’s New Year Dinner yesterday. Hearty yet delicate and made us all feel a bit better
A favourite quote for today…
A peek into one of my days… taken the week before Christmas. Hollingworth Lake near Littleborough
One of my favourite things… is finding a new box-set to watch on Netflix
From the board room… I love this hot water bottle cover. Might try to make this sometime!
There is some news I wish to share with you which I shared on Facebook just before Christmas. You may know that I have been exploring ministry in the last 18 months or so, and I have been put forward for a selection panel to see if I am suitable for training to be an ordained minister for the Church of England. I am really pleased to be able to tell you that I was successful, and I will be training from September to become ordained. Thank you everyone who has prayed for me and offered me support in practical and spiritual ways on this journey thus far, and I hope you and I will continue our journey together as we see where God is calling me onward.
It’s been a whole month since I last updated you with what’s what, so here’s where we are up to on the Mushy Cloud.
As you might know, I have just finished a four-week placement at another church prior to my BAP (Bishop’s Advisory Panel – selection panel to be a candidate for ordination training) and I am back at my own church this week. The placement itself was a fantastic experience and I met lots of lovely people, as well as learning more about my vocation and what God is calling me to do. I also had a very different experience of how to “do” church and that’s something that I will be reflecting on between now and my BAP.
I was straight back into my own parish ministry on Monday morning at our annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic with the little ones at Stay and Play. We said goodbye to 8 children as they move on up to “big school” in September and we are looking forward to seeing some new families in September when we get back.
Last Thursday (a slight overlap with my placement and today’s ministry) I met a lovely family who were preparing for the funeral of their beloved Gran and Mum, Jean. We talked a lot about what family meant to her and I was moved to hear their stories of her life and how she treated people with love. It was Jean’s funeral today and I contributed the prayers during the service, as well as accompanying the vicar at the graveside. I had one of those lovely moments where my online life met my “real” life, and I met one of my blog friends at the funeral. He introduced himself at the end of the service, and it was absolutely fantastic to meet him in person – hello Andy!!
We are heading off in the wobbly box next week for a few days away in the Lake District. It has been a long twelve months since we were last on holiday and we can’t quite manage the full two weeks this year, but the few days we are going to be away are going to be a very welcome tonic after the hectic (and sometimes frantic) things we have been working through as a family recently. No doubt there will be photographs and updates while we are there, including – I hope – a series of sunset and sunrise shots from the top of Hardknott Pass. Please pray for good weather for that overnight expedition for us. I’m not bothered about having good weather for the rest of it – tea tastes as good under canvas as it does in the open air when it is drunk out of a tin mug – but for the night we decide to do the photography on top of the world it would be nice to have some clear skies so we can see the sun come up properly.
A couple of weeks ago I received a delightful postcard from my blog friend Mary in the USA. It showed a photograph of Niagara Falls and it reminded me of the trip I went on with North Music Centre in September 1987 to the same place. We played an afternoon concert on a bandstand in the park at the top of the falls and I remember the spray from the water managed to wet our music even from that distance away. We also had a trip on the Maid of the Mist boat to the foot of the Horseshoe Falls, which is also depicted on Mary’s postcard. Thank you for the card Mary and thank you for the fabulous reminder of what a wonderful, natural world we live in.
In other news, I am trying to write a computer program that will help with crochet design so am on a crash course of learning coding (my head hurts) and how to apply maths and logarithms to what is essentially a textile art form. Not easy and anyone with any experience who can do this thing for me I will gladly talk to and get help from. I have also been trying to hone my writing discipline because since my degree I have gotten out of the habit of writing every day. I have started to keep “morning pages” and even in the short while I have been doing it I have seen an improvement in my word-craft.
That’s about it for now as I can hear my crochet hook calling me. Here is a picture of a bee I have designed. He doesn’t have a face yet as I’m not sure I like him to have a black or a yellow face. What do you think? The wings are still in the prototype stages too and so haven’t been attached yet. Sigh. A work in progress indeed.
Outside my window… the evening is cooling down a little. Some clouds in the sky but some bright sunshine too. A great metaphor for life!
I am thinking… about a painting I’m working on for a friend
I am thankful… for the space to think today
I am praying for… the country’s young people as they are in the midst of exams
I am wearing… my hair up and my smile down
I am creating… I am between crochet projects at the moment, having finished this last night.
I am going… to be involved with two hospital funerals tomorrow, where people have died with no next of kin. The first person has some friends and extended family who will be in attendance, but the second has nobody but us laity and clergy to pray for her.
I am wondering… whether we can afford to go on holiday this summer. The car is not fit to tow the caravan and we don’t have the money to fix it, and we won’t have the money for site fees and food while we’re away so it’s unlikely we’ll be able to go. I’m wondering if something will turn up really.
I am reading… “Monk’s Hood” by Ellis Peters. It’s the third book in the Cadfael series and was a free download from Amazon.
I am hoping… to have my poorly ankle manipulated this evening.
I am learning… to be patient.
In my garden… the grass needs cutting but the lawn mower is broken. This post is starting to feel a bit like a moan-fest now!
In my kitchen… we are having a surprise for tea. Emma is here with her best friend and they are cooking something for us all. It smells nice and they have a great track record, so I’m quite looking forward to it.
A favourite quote for today…
A peek into one of my days…
This is my daughter, and I am very proud of her. She is extremely fit and healthy, and she loves running and doing all sorts of physical challenges. This weekend she ran “Tough Mudder” in Grantham, and volunteered to be a marshal for the other racers on Saturday. She has completed four now and has already got the next two planned. Go Em!!
One of my favourite things… is seeing my children flourish and thrive.
Looking out my window… I can see clear blue skies, but I can hear the wind howling and there is a storm on its way.
I am thinking… I might cook cheesy bacon pasta for tea tonight.
I am thankful… that mental health in young people is taken seriously.
One of my favourite things… is driving with my son to band practice and having a natter about all sorts of things, both big and small.
I am creating… this little beauty. I began it during the evening on Boxing Day (for my non-UK readers, Boxing Day is the day after Christmas Day) and it is going to be used when we go away in our caravan this summer.
I am wearing… layers, layers and layers today. The heating is on but I’m bone-cold.
I am reading… “The Coroner (Coroner: Jenny Cooper Series)” by M R Hall
I am watching… The BDO World Championships on TV this week. I love watching the darts, and the BDO suits me because it is not as high-powered or glitzy as the PDC competitions. Darts are good to crochet to as I can listen and only half watch the TV as I’m concentrating on the yarn in my hands.
I have been listening to… Pemberton Old Band rehearsing for a competition this weekend in Skegness. My son plays bass trombone for them and I sometimes give him a lift to rehearsals. I have enjoyed the experience of being a groupie rather than a player since he started playing with them, and it makes a refreshing change for me to hear a piece of music being crafted into a performance piece to contest level by a band of this calibre. They are in the First Section (one level down from the Championship Section but working on their way back up) and they are a level above where I played with Middleton Band before I stopped playing.
I am hoping… my brother recovers quickly from his surgery yesterday.
I am learning… to trust my instinct.
In my kitchen… I have been making the effort to cook proper meals from scratch. We have a limited food budget and sometimes it can be a challenge to eat healthily all the time, and I have been enjoying the challenge of finding recipes and dishes that we can eat to fill us up, fill us up healthily, fill us up healthily and inexpensively.
Board room… we are looking at the story of Jonah and the Whale for our next Messy Church and I really want to do this activity with the children:
Post Script: I found this site (Strategies for dealing with change) when I was looking for something to help someone I love who is going through some really difficult, anxious times. I found this picture, and thought it would be great to share with you too. Please visit the host site for more like this.
Closing Notes… I began this post this morning, about 12 hours ago (which is why I said the sky is clear blue and not the midnight black it is now) and today has been another one that has been packed with drama, fun, music, family, planning, crafting and laughter. I thank God that my life is so varied and that it is filled with so many people who stimulate me in so many different ways. I have to say that being a mum is challenging at the minute, and I trust God to see us through the particular storm we are weathering just now. I am grateful to my friends who visited today too – a bit of a giggle and a chat with people you love goes a long way to making things feel better! And music. Ah music. Where would I be without you? Laughing with Ethan and Megan in the car going to band rehearsal tonight and having fun finding music that we all like. Fortunately all three of us have similar musical taste and we enjoyed a great 45 minutes each way listening to all sorts of stuff, from First Class’ “Beach Baby”, to the cast recording of songs from “Sweet Charity”, by way of Glen Campbell and his “Rhinestone Cowboy” (with alternative words, courtesy of yours truly) and a bit of “Hairspray” to finish with. You definitely can’t stop the beat if you’re travelling with the Pamster at the minute!
Outside my window… the weather is miserable. It is bitterly cold and the drizzle has got needle edges on it.
I am thinking… that I am glad I took some time out last weekend to have a rest and to gather my strength.
I am thankful… for the food in my freezer. That might sound like a very trite thing to say, but trust me, it’s not. Times are hard and money is extremely tight, and we managed to pull together enough money last week for two weeks’ worth of groceries to be able to batch cook meals in individual portions for the coming months. Not only do we have the security of knowing there are meals ready prepared (and with fresh produce, and where I know exactly what’s in them) but we also have enough to share.
I am praying for… my son’s girlfriend and her family who were suddenly thrown out of their home on Friday. They have had to split the family up to find accommodation for the short term, and she is staying with us for a while until her mum and dad can get back on their feet. I am also praying for my own family, particularly my husband, for the strength to keep going and to trust that things are going to work out one day.
I am creating… crocheted mini Christmas stockings for a bit of fun, and I’m working on a hat for myself for winter.
I am going… to meet up with an old friend sometime soon who I haven’t seen for ages.
I am wondering… whether I am going to finish NaNoWriMo this year. Signs are not good so far, but there’s time yet!
I am reading… “The Hanging Tree” by Ben Aaronovitch. It is the latest in a series of books about a special department of the Metropolitan Police which deals with the magical as well as the criminal. The others have been very good and so far this one is turning out to be the same.
I am hoping… my Achilles tendon heals soon because as the weather is getting colder, it is aching more and the lump has come back again.
I am learning… to look for the fingerprints of God in everything around me.
In my garden… a tennis ball randomly appeared one day last week. I don’t know where it came from and it has gone again now. Who? Why? When? What? How come??
In my kitchen… I have made a concerted effort to cook from scratch every night for the past couple of weeks, and it is paying off. I did a lot of research into budget and straightforward recipes that used basic ingredients that I could get cheaply, and I have been trying out some really good and exciting new dishes as well as making some of our family favourites for meals. It has been a useful exercise – not only is it costing us less, but it is healthier and I feel more useful in the house by contributing something by cooking for us all. Tis a good feeling.
A favourite quote for today… “some days you’re more on top of your horse than others” (can’t remember who said it, but it is a good one!)
A peek into one of my days… my graduation last week. I was conferred the degree of Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Humanities with Creative Writing from The Open University at the Bridgewater Hall. Phew what a mouthful, but what a day! Thoroughly enjoyed it and I could get used to wearing that gown and hood.
My graduation last week
My daughter and me at my graduation
Well, what can I say?!
One of my favourite things… is clean sheets, clean pyjamas and a clean body before bedtime. Bliss!
Post Script: You may have gathered things are a little difficult at the moment, and it has left me unwilling/unable to blog very much recently. Trust me, I feel better than I did a little while ago so I will be making every effort to try to blog a bit more in the coming weeks. There are lots of things on the calendar coming up with band and church and so on, so keep watching, things are going to be interesting to say the least.
Outside my window… there is the remnants of Storm Katie battering the house and there is a definite chill in the air tonight. It’s wet, cold, windy and miserable
I am thinking… how much my own body hates me at times
I am thankful… my prescription arrived today
I am praying for… there seems to be so many people close to me who are affected by serious illness , whether their own or a close loved one and my prayers today re for them. It is very hard to stand by and watch people you love being affected by health problems and you feel especially helpless because there’s nothing you can do to take away the pain for them. My prayer is for calmness and strength to endure the pain of watching loved ones in pain.
I am wearing… my comfy socks. They are the ones I wear when I’ve had a shower and they are just the right amount of tightness to be secure without strangling my feet, soft enough to be comforting but not that soft they irritate my skin and they have just the right amount of stretch to stay in place without cutting off the blood supply in my ankles or slipping down under my heels. Win win!
I am creating… prayer bears. Here’s a photo of one I made for my friend Hils over the weekend. I have adapted the pattern since then and am now on for my third one. They are lovely to crochet and are so cute when they are made up.
I am going… to get ahead with my studies this week. There is a week’s break on the calendar for both modules this week and I am up to date after a mammoth effort before Easter to catch up with all my work. However, there is a heavy reading list to get through in the next couple of weeks so if I can do something to get ahead this week I’ll be doing myself some favours.
I am wondering… what’s wrong with Terry the Terrapin. He seems very lethargic and not fond of his food at the minute, and there are a couple of white patches on his shell. They look like he might be getting ready to shed again, but I don’t like it when he basks all day instead of swimming about and digging in his rocks.
I am reading… “Buffalo Soldier” by Tanya Landman. I’m ostensibly reading it for my assessment at the end of my Children’s Literature module, but it is so good I am enjoying it in its own right. It’s the story of “Charley O’Hara”, a freed slave girl who disguises herself as a man to join the US Army just after the American Civil War. She finds that freedom isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
I am hoping… my little sunflower (planted on Saturday) is weathering well in the horrible cold rain we are having. Come on little flower, you can do it!
I am learning… not yet, but when I’ve finished my degree I have two things on my hit list to learn, one is sign language and the other is shorthand. I don’t mind if I just manage to cover the basics in both of them but it’s something I want to do for fun.
In my garden… apart from my little sunflower seed (come on little seed, you can do it) there are lovely clumps of daffodils, some crocus, lots of greenery and a sad little football that has blown into the middle of the lawn from somewhere.
In my kitchen… I made a lamb biryani last night for tea, which I usually make with curry paste that you can get in a jar. Last night’s choice was Madras, but there wasn’t enough left in the jar from last time so I topped it up with the remains of a Rogan Josh jar from the time before. The trouble is that I’d already added some cumin seeds to the onions and lamb in the pan and the resulting sauce was, erm, a bit warm to say the least. It was so warm that we were in physical pain from the third or fourth forkful each. But it was absolutely delicious once the pain had subsided and the leftovers today have gone down a treat.
A favourite quote for today…
“We know not what we shall be”; but we may be sure we shall be more, not less, than we were on earth. Our natural experiences (sensory, emotional, imaginative) are only like the drawing, like pencilled lines on flat paper. If they vanish in the risen life, they will vanish only as pencil lines vanish from the real landscape, not as a candle flame that is put out but as a candle flame which becomes invisible because someone has pulled up the blind, thrown open the shutters, and let in the blaze of the risen sun.
From The Weight of Sun by C S Lewis
A peek into one of my days…
My Gran and my son at our church Maundy Thursday supper
The pathway of light at our Easter Vigil prayer morning
These two photographs show two sides of my Easter weekend. The first shows my Gran sitting with my son at the Maundy Thursday supper we had at church last week. We had a lovely service beforehand and then ate together afterwards, sharing a lamb supper with around 90 people. The second photo shows the cross swathed in a black cloth on the steps at St Peter’s church where we had held a prayer morning on Saturday. This photo shows the pathway of light we lit as part of our prayers, and to me these two photos represent so much about what my life is all about. Family, faith, fellowship, prayer, hope and love.
One of my favourite things… is taking time to appreciate and give thanks for the beauty of creation.
From the board room…
These are definitely on the cards for me to make this summer!
I have been absent from my blog for a little while, but hopefully I’m back now. Things have been pretty manic recently, with assignments on top of extra reading for the OU and me being ill (again). I am through the worst of it now and am looking at life with a bit more renewed energy so fingers crossed blogging will be back up the list of my priorities again.