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Shrove Tuesday spring St David's Day

1st March – St David’s Day

Today is St David’s Day – the patron saint of Wales. It is also Shrove Tuesday or Pancake day – the start of Lent in the Christian calendar, at least in the West. And it is the start of Spring. I have also decided that I am going to try my hardest and post one blog post every month. I had read in WordPress’ newsletter that there had been a Bloganuary, which I’d missed. But then I have never been good at doing things when other people did. I never do my month of non-alcoholic drinking during SoberOctober but pick another time period. When I was young and my friends were all going to see some film that was raved about I wouldn’t go, just because it was popular!!! So starting yesterday I’m going to attempt daily postings for a month. I do have 12 prompts all ready to go.

So today’s key days – St David, Shrove Tuesday and 1st day of Spring – are a mix of joy and grief days, especially Shrove Tuesday. This was a day when any of the good food stuffs were still in the store cupboard after a long winter would be made into a meal and eaten in preparation for the fasting of Lent. So it was a celebratory day knowing that for the next 40 days [excluding Sundays and Saint’s days] there would be fasting so hearts would be sorted to remember the crucifixion of Jesus.

As I typed that I was wondering how much easier things would be if we could prepare ourselves for a time of grief or conflict. What if we’d knowing just over 2 years ago that there would be this world shattering pandemic? What would we have done in preparation? How would we have sorted out our hearts? With this with the Russian invasion – which some say was coming for a while – how should we have prepared our hearts?

Do we ever think to prepare our hearts or do we just rushing into things reacting? Did people take life slower in some bygone age? With the times of Lent and Advent one does wonder if they did. I know with both Lent and Advent that is a time of remembering rather than and event happening so that is the difference. That at the time when these periods of mourning were set in place much of Europe was tearing itself apart with war after war after war.

Pick any period in history and some country was invading some other country, some people group was fighting some other people group. This that we are enduring is NOT new. It is just that we have been able to ignore it for a long time because, apart from the Balkan war in the 1990s there has been no fighting in European soil since 1945. But if one looks across the rest of the world even during the 22 years of this century someone is fighting someone whether governments or so called rebel forces or whatever. Sadly also today in 1954 the US tested a 15 megatonne bomb – 15 times more powerful than the atomic bomb that destroyed Hiroshima – in the Pacific archipelago of Bikini. So may be we should be preparing our hearts more.

But also this is the time to celebrate the legend of St David. He was pretty amazing, pretty fearless and I do wonder if, even though he did not know what would happen next,he had his heart always prepared, facing towards God and the mighty power the being aligned with the Creator of the Universe.

So how do we do that? I’ve got some prompt that I’ll hopefully get to over the next month but I think firstly it is to slow things down, to wait and not react – whether that is to what we read in the news, in personal affairs, in the things we do – so that when we do move we can move wholeheartedly trusting in ourselves and that we are in alignment with the Universe and not – as Putin seems to be doing – working against the good of mankind as a whole.

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Census equinox lockdown spring unprecedented

21st March 2021

Daffodils. Image taken from Pixabay.com by dendoktoor
Image from Pixabay by dendoktoor

Today is the 21st March, the first day of spring. It is also Census day here in the UK, an event that happens every 10 years. It is the 1st anniversary of the first ever lockdown in the UK. So much has changed in the last 12 months but then so much changes every year, but through it all spring stays the same. And it is the mix of mighty changes and the constants that I am holding on to today.

The mighty changes got me thinking about how very different each of my “Census days” have been.. This will be my 6th. My first, I was not quite 10 so my parents would have filled that one in. We had moved from London to a bungalow in the country. I had friends with horses and maybe too much freedom. Fast forward 10 year, as a family we moved twice and now live in a different part of the country, I am married, own a house and have a job. Ten years further on, I’ve divorced, moved a lot, had a crazy ten years that I am grateful to have lived through, and now hold my brand new son in my arms and know I need to calm down to keep him safe. The next 10 years again, are filled with huge changes. I have an amazing God encounter, marry, have a daughter, get divorced, move lots, and as I filled in this census form we are preparing to go to live with a Christian mission organisation. In the ten years from there I have worked in the mission organisation for a while, moved around a lot, settled back in the town I filled in the last census form, then got married and moved again. Now to this year’s census form, again many changes though I am still married to the same person, my kids have left home [though my daughter is staying with us whilst she’s furloughed], we have moved and I have published my first book.

Lots of other things have happened during the last ten years – deaths of family and friends in tragic circumstances being the major ones – but also amazing times of growing up, of getting a degree, of no longer running away.

These past 12 months will go down as a year of monumental change and I know that this year of lockdown isn’t over yet, but what I have discovered as I have thought back through my “census years” is that life events don’t fit kindly into a calendar pattern. Months and years don’t all start on the first day of the week. People don’t die far enough apart to give one time to grieve through each one. Things happen in a mess. They happen in a confused state.

The media and many others are asking governments to come up with a “get out of lockdown” plan, but as someone said on Mock the Week earlier in the year “this is a virus and it won’t stick to a plan”. The phrase that was spoken a lot at the beginning of this pandemic was that we were in unprecedented times. Why do we expect someone to have a plan when things are unprecedented? When I filled in my first census form as an adult I would not have been able to tell you that 4 census’s later I would be living in North Wales with a published book and degree in Creative Writing and History. I’ve had many “unprecedented” years, and most times there is no plan. The “pandemic years” will be different as they are something we experience as a nation rather than an individual. But sometimes I have come to realise is we don’t know our way through we just have to keep on walk.

feel I’ve walked a life time of unprecedented and know that there is a pretty strong chance that the next however long I’m blessed to live on this earth will be unprecedented – some maybe just for me and mine but some maybe for the world country. I am grateful that after my 3rd census I met with God in such a way that I have never been able to walk away. I didn’t met with doctrines or theology but met with the Creator of the Universe who told me how much I was loved even though at the time I was a mess. I believe the Almighty can do it now for each and everyone.

I share a poem from Jan Richardson who has been on an awesome journey through unprecedented times for her and can still say she know she is Beloved.

Today in the Northern hemisphere is Spring Equinox. From today there will be more daylight than darkness, and as I write the sun is shining. I hope this is the start of more light in our world than darkness, more warmth rather than cold, more trusting and less fear. We will all walk, either as individuals, as families, or as nations, through unprecedented times, but as Easter approaches, help us to remember that we do not need to walk alone.

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accepting Airbnb allthingsarenew being me deciding doors Doris grief memories mixed emotions nature new year spring Storm walking the dog

Spring has arrived

220px-spring_in_stockholm_2016_28229It’s not just the blossom on the trees or the bud of new leaves, the singing of the birds chatting each other up or the primroses appearing, the clocks changing or it feeling warmer. The caravans have started to arrive in the caravan park I walk the dog past and the small animal zoo has opened again. Life is springing up all around.

But also I still see the remains of Storm Doris and the destruction she caused. The fallen tree I still have to climb over, the branches scattered in the park, the red tape around the trees made dangerous by the storm. It reminds me of my life. There are so many new and exciting things going on here. The doors that are opening

15-fallen-tree-across-the-path
Not where I walk but similar

are amazing and I am using my degree to its limits with the projects I am becoming a part of – both paid and voluntary. But there is still in my life the remnants of the storms that I have endured; a missing person here that I’d like to tell, a reason why we’re living here not somewhere else, the pains, stresses, and sadnesses that I carry even though this glorious awakening.

It does feel like spring has come to my life with the workshops, the projects, the challenges of different cultures with the Airbnb. I can truly see our vision coming to life and it is amazing. But there are times when I wonder why I feel sad and low and then remind myself of the storms that have passed through. At times it feels like they block my path and slow me down and that the climb over them is too hard. But climb over I do because the openings and new growth that are happening in my life are too good to stay 2cdbed97a3252cdb5d2744be0d0f852f_xland dwell on the storm. But as I acknowledge the fallen tree and step over it and walk around the scattered branches so I must acknowledge what has gone on and not try to walk as though it is all as it was.

For the land this spring is different because of the destruction that passed through but it will rise into new growth and so will I.