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2020 Review

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Normally I would do my end of year review to coincide with Christmas cards I was sending, whether physical or electronic, but this year I have decided to wait until 31st December to post, and am even tempted to wait until midnight just in case. It is not that I am fearful but this has been an “unprecedented” year.

At the time I would normally have done this post I was still laid up with bruised ribs from falling off that horse though was starting to plan what I would write, and I suppose even Different Christmas was a lead up to that. But then just as I was in the planning stages for that my husband got shingles and has been very sore with that. Then on Saturday 19th Dec Wales announced that all was change for Christmas and we were going into lockdown again – though from the volume of traffic I would say that only means that pubs and cafes have now closed. Not sure if I can see much other difference on the roads. It is definitely not back to April’s sparse traffic volume. But then on Sunday my daughter announced that she had tested positive to covid and so, even though she wasn’t coming up here for the holidays it did mean she was going to have to spend it home alone! All this in just a week!

This has been the strangest of years. Even to the point that our cat went from eating biscuits to demanding that we feed her cat meat from a tin. She now has meat twice a day and ignores the biscuits that sit waiting for her to be hungry enough. If it hadn’t been for the local cat rescue places being closed all the tins that had been in the cupboard for the last few years would have gone to them but now she’s eaten them all.

Talking of pets – our crazy rabbit died in the summer, happily of a possible heart attack whilst he was sunbathing before begining yet another digging project. He was buried inside his own warren of tunnels that he had constructed over the four years he had been living here. He is still very missed and the amount of veg peelings in our food recycling bin has increased.

As with everyone 2020 started normally enough, though it was odd for us because my husband chose to stay home for New Year’s instead of going to a youth hostel with old university friends. So actually even the start of the year was different for us with us being together when we woke on 2020. We went away as always for our wedding anniversary at the end of January, which was followed by my husband going off for a week of intensive Welsh learning on the Llyn Peninsular. He managed to get away climbing with friends in Scotland at the start of March, but by the time he went away then things were starting to change and covid was being muttered about. We had two Airbnb guests, both in the medical profession, who went from saying it was nothing to worry about to slowly getting more and more concerned about it, to our guest from Burma having to cut short his stay so he got home before all airports were closed.

I was supposed to go on my regular March writing retreat but felt uneasy about going which was just as well because suddenly things got serious. So instead of being in Gwynedd I went Cardiff to bring my daughter to stay with us when the pubs closed. We bought her some walking boots the day before the country went into full lockdown. We thought we were going to be walking all over North Wales, but then the 5 mile rule was introduced and we finished up doing lots of walks around where we live. We have seen my daughter more this year, probably a good 4 months of the year, than we have since she went off to university about 7 years ago. I picked her up yesterday, now that she is over her coovid isolation time and will spend New Year with us and stay until this lockdown lifts. So even though we have seen so much more of her this year when it comes to everyone else – my son and our mothers and our friends – we’ve seen them less than normal.

My husband changed jobs at the start of lockdown and has now been working for his new company for 8 months and never seen the inside of his office or met any of his colleagues face to face. We are so grateful for our lovely big house and him being able to work upstairs in his own office. But his is the only work going on in the house because, with all the guidelines and restrictions, it is not safe to run our house as an Airbnb rental home for the time being. Read more about that on Humility. And since not having guests coming and going it has changed how I see the house and what it is for. For now I’m not making any decisions how things will look regarding Airbnb and room rentals in 2021, but I do know I see this place much more as a family home now than a business.

We did manage to get away for a flying visit to Somerset to see our mums and a couple of friends at the beginning of August and my son and his fiancee came up to us for a long weekend in mid August. Both times we were blessed with great weather. And we managed 6 days in Northumberland in late September, though because Northumbeland went into tier 3 we were not able to see one friend who had moved there a couple of years ago, and also a friend’s 50th wedding anniversary party was cancelled. But we did manage 6 days of walking, reading, and resting together.

As well as Airbnb all my work has stopped – no more writing groups, no more schools work, no more workshops in the library. All very strange. But I have been doing a lot of my own writing and a few of my blogs from here are being published on Godspacelight.com which is quite exciting. I have also been working with a young illustrator and we have a book called The Little Yellow Boat which is with BumbleBee Publishing in the process of being put together and published later in 2021. I will tell more about that once it is out in the big wide world. My plans for 2021 are to work on more short stories and other ideas and of course to blog more. I do not want The Little Yellow Boat to be my only publications. I have also been working towards an MA in Celtic Studies and have loved the modules about the Mabinogion, especailly the Four Branches. I am thinking of doing some stores around the women from the Four Branches.

Every year we do not know what is going to happen, but I think 2021 is probably the one where we have the least idea. Will the vaccine prove effective enough to bring back “normal” life? Will we have enjoyed some of the changes and not want “normal”? For some their business will never be the same again. Many will be bankrupt. For others there plans will be delayed and will be able to move forward a year or two later. But also within that not knowing are things we do have control over. I plan to continue with the Quantum Energy Counselling healing work I’ve been doing. I will work on my own writing and develop a body of work and look at being published. I will meet up with people when I walk with my dog and have great conversations. I will email my friends. And I will carry on reading. All these I have control over. As to whether I’ll start Airbnb rental again or whether I’ll be able to restart writing workshops and schools work, that I have no control over, so will hold lightly. Also I do have control over how I behave towards what is going on around me and I hope I can hold Joy and Hope in the right place and walk as God wants me to through whatever is thrown my way.

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Covid-19 economy new picture pandemic revival

Revivals!

Chester Cathedral by me

I’ve been watching a series about revivals on https://commissionthecity.thinkific.com/ [I would highly recommend it]. But what has struck me is that when revival comes certain things happen

  • people stop going to pubs
  • people stop going to sporting events
  • people only want to go to church and pray

What I have noticed about this pandemic is the order things have reopened and the things everyone, including Christians, have seen as important.

  1. Our economy – which meant certain things had to reopen even before it was probably safe to do so and those things are:
  • Firstly large sporting events that bring in lots of advertising revenue which are being watch at home on TV
  • Second pubs, restaurants and cafes
  • shops, hairdressers, etc, etc
  • And then lastly our churches.

It seemed to me in reading about revival that no one cared about the economy. Does this mean there was a huge economic crash at this time? In Wales in the early 20th century people really were only going to work, which at the time was mainly agricultural and industry, and then going straight to church. But also at that time there was no major hospitality industry, tourist industry, no consumeristic society.

My daughter works in hospitality. If she stops work to go and pray all the time, or has to stop because no one goes to the pub because they are all praying, how will she pay her rent? And she’s not the only one.

It made me wonder if this is why we are often reluctant to pray for revival, even if that reluctance might be only on a subconscious level. The pictures we are given is of the things we know and love – hospitality industry and sporting industry – grinding to a halt. Do we really want that? As we have seen with things being lockdown for a few months the country has tumbled into recession. Do we want that?

Much as these stories of revival are totally awesome I think we need to be praying for a new picture to talk to us about revival. Someone did say to me that this pandemic and the lockdown have shown some key things – man’s fear of dying, the fragility of the economy but also our need for it, and also our individuality. Maybe our new picture for revival needs to be about tackling those issues rather than bringing down the economy and the industries that our country now survives on.

So don’t just pray “Revival” but ask God how it would look and how our families and friends would survive through it.

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2020 blacklivesmatter change Change the world Covid-19 deeper lockdown pandemic racism

20/20 Perfect Vision

perfectvision-1024x413-1
Image taken from https://ubcrembert.org/perfect-vision-20-20/ 

2020 they said was the going to be the year of perfect vision – Twenty twenty vision! Then they panicked because suddenly we were all locked inside, unless we were key workers. Suddenly they were talking about how this lockdown/pandemic had been predicted before. Lots of prophecies bouncing out. But not once, at least on the ones I listened to, did I hear anything about this 20/20 vision.

Let me list the things I think this year of 2020 is revealing: (&these are in no particular order so apologies if some look like they are of more importance. That is not my intention)

  • who the key workers really are. Not just health and care workers but delivery drivers, both food and parcels, those who empty the bins, not just our household ones but the ones in the parks and streets, the takeaway food and coffee workers, those who work in food producing factories. I’m sure I’ve missed some.
  • the fragility of the world economy
  • poverty and how people teeter on the edge and losing 20% of their wages pushes them over the edge
  • the huge one that is causing riots and protests across the world – including social media infiltrations via K-Pop fans – is racism. Not just slurs and comments but institutionalised racism.
  • But this is also showing how connected the world is and how people don’t agree with all that is going on and will speak out, will do something. And perhaps it is because so many are at home and have time to do something about it. I am seeing websites starting gathering info, people doing things they would not have had the time or energy to do.
  • Not forgetting climate change
  • Domestic violence
  • Child abuse – interesting how during this time Police say they may have found the real abductor of Madeline McCann which happened so many years ago. Things coming into the light, things being truly seen
    mental health issues
  • the fragility and incompetence of our government and other governments around the world
  • the strange system in the USA where one man speaks for all no matter how sound he is

But you know what? All these issues have been raised before. It seems not so long ago another middle aged black man was crying out “I can’t breath” but things did not explode like they have done. It did not become a worldwide thing. Why now? Some say it is because people have less to do, but I would like to raise the issue of 20/20 vision, the prediction that this year we would see things clearly.

It looks too like I might not be the only one thinking this. Here is this great poem by Leslie Dwight going around which says
“What if 2020 is the year we’ve been waiting for? ⁣
A year so uncomfortable, so painful, so scary, so raw —
that it finally forces us to grow,”
“⁣A year that screams so loud, finally awakening us
from our ignorant slumber.⁣
A year we finally accept the need for change.⁣
Declare change. Work for change. Become the change.”
“A year we finally band together, instead of⁣
pushing each other further apart.⁣⁣

2020 isn’t cancelled, but rather ⁣
the most important year of them all.”⁣

[accessed 5th June 2020 on https://www.instagram.com/p/CA_CXcBp7Rg/?utm_source=ig_embed and https://www.today.com/news/what-if-2020-isn-t-canceled-inspiring-poem-message-change-t183397%5D

 

What if we can look back on 2020 and say that things really did change, that we would not settle for what was again. I must say I am so proud of my daughter and others being brave and going out there and protesting. That takes courage. But they aren’t just doing that. They are reading, they are learning, they are looking, really looking with their eyes wide open.