Inspiring stuff

So here's the story: a church that meets in a theatre in the USA stores it's stuff in a trailer during the rest of the week. The trailer was stolen and the folks at the church put signs up to catch the thief's attention. They also put this video on their website, in the hope that whoever took their stuff might see it. I've no idea whether they ever heard from the thief or got any of their stuff back, but for creatively getting the right message across, I take my hat off to them. This is inspiring - and not, I fear, how many of our churches have - or would - react in similar circumstances.

Introducing Tommy the Tomato

I say tomaahto, you say tomayto... let's call it Tommy instead.

He's been amusing us for the last ten minutes. (We're easily amused.)

Tommy grew an appendage in the fridge overnight – at least no one claims to have noticed before and he's already been washed… so we took the bad look off him by giving him eyes and a smile.

Otherwise, the poor chap might have had a very red face…..


A first - I've been tagged by Dana. Once I found out what that actually meant, I stopped running. (Well, playing tag used to mean that when I was at school!) So here goes:

I love the smell of… the kitchen when mum’s making soup, just bathed toddlers, freshly dug soil… and Jeyes fluid.
People would say that I… make good cakes… I hope!
I don’t understand why…when I need to remember how a gizmo works, I still look at the blank wall where Ali’s husband once “drew” the explanation with his finger.
When I wake up in the morning… I “rehearse” the bits of the day I know about.
I lost my willpower to… resist turkish delight once I figured Aslan would sort it all out in the end.
Life is… worth living deliberately and out loud.
My past made me… fat. (Well have you ever tried saying “no” to an Irish granny or mummy with a tea pot and plate of food?!)
I get annoyed when I… see the vulnerable getting treated badly by selfish people.
Parties are not a good time to… throw up.
Dogs are… wonderful, when they live in someone else’s house and drop hairs over their rugs and chew their furniture and lift their getting-to-room-temperature eggs from the baking bowl and carry them every so carefully in their lovely-soft-Irish-setter-mouths to the front door for you to step on when you get back home. Huh.
Cats are… annoying furballs up there with wasps on the “why on earth did God create them” list.
Tomorrow is… uh, the day after today? Is this a trick question?
I have a low tolerance for…political waffle and media luvvies.
I’m totally terrified of… big crowds because when something goes wrong, the dynamic shifts and the whole thing is unpredictable.
I wonder why I thought my life would be…boring once I reached 30.
Never in my life have I… bought a lottery ticket, kissed a dog (I’ve seen where they lick), understood why anyone finds football interesting, wanted to follow anyone but Jesus, kissed the frog and found the prince.
High school was… a confusing American term until I realised it meant post-primary educational type place, in which case it was an irritating blip on my educational radar for seven years and not even slightly as enjoyable as primary school which was a five star blast.
When I’m nervous… I will probably wonder what the sensation is and may need someone to explain it to me.
One time at a family gathering… I discovered my normally quiet father and uncle had a past I didn’t know about. They sang (rebel) songs (normally enjoyed by a different community) – and knew all the words. Impressive!
Take my advice… only when your back is really up against the wall and you’re seriously stuck for what to do next.
I’m almost always…surrounded by people.
I’m addicted to… my family, Jesus, sewing projects (including the big fat secret one at the moment!)
I want someone to… suggest places I should visit on my round the world trip at the end of the year!

Go for it Laura and Ali - you're tagged.

and it just continues....

... with yet another sunny day. Is this our summer? Silly question - it's perfect exam weather as always - and when the official holidays start in July, we'll have rain everyday!

Mum, the lil' guy (19 months) and I spent the afternoon on the beach just splashing in the rockpools and jumping over the waves and poking for pretty stones and shells - all of which got chucked back into the water so we could say "plop". Long live innocence!

It does make me wish kids had more time to explore. I used to teach and it was as much about managing the classroom as it was about learning time. I've always had a feeling we squash enthusiasm for learning out of children instead of encouraging it. Home education has a lot going for it!

Good Weekend.. and a warning to R.

It's been one of those weekends - lots of catching up with family and friends, probably too much food and plenty of sunshine. Just perfect after a weekend fighting off a chest infection with yet more antibiotics.

On Saturday, visitors arrived for the week at my rental. With a little help from super-sleuth me, they have tracked down the mum's family, some of whom she hasn't seen in almost half a century. She's in her 80s and they've planned a big reunion for over the weekend and she was so excited when I met them at the airport. Hope it all went well!

Back at the ranch, my aunt, cousin and her family arrived for a beach session - and wee BBQ which was great fun. Her two little girls are such a hoot - especially the 7 year old's photography skills! She managed to make me look more gormless than usual.

Minutes after they left, another friend arrived with dinner prepared - bless the giver of the new cookery book with the "must try" recipe! Three of us settled into a lovely meal and a video (including the bra incident) from a trip to France ten years ago. We laughed sooo much. Great memories and great medicine.

Sunday was a no-church day; although the chest infection has almost cleared, I'm wary of large crowds bearing secret bugs! I caught up with my friend home from Nairobi for the weekend. It was a lovely meal with him and his folks, but I'd have like a little more time to hear more about the work he's involved with in Somalia. Things aren't looking good in the region and it's the same all over - while all the trouble contines, it's the poorest and most vulnerable who suffer.

Sunday evening, mum, S and I took a little toddle to R's house in The Avenue, with the waves so close, you feel you could step off the balcony onto them. He's still got the "for sale" sign up, but we're hopeful he won't move.

There's something very precious about having so many long-time friends living a few steps away. It's like we've almost re-created the kind of communities our parents grew up in.

Let me give you an example; half a dozen houses away in The Hollow, live M&W. They grew up in the same church fellowship our family did in Belfast and then ministered in Brazil for 40 years. We go way back. Their daughter and her family live in The Lane - a two minute walk away. In between is S whom I've known for well over a decade - we were both in the choir at my previous church. R's sister HJ and her family live in The View - a minute in the other direction. HJ and her husband M were at college with me way back in the early 80s. Quite a few of the homes in between all these ones I've mentioned are owned by members of the church we attend now in Bangor, Co Down. Add the beauty of the coastline on one side of us and the countryside on the other and you can see why it all feels so special.

It's so wonderful to have such really good friends right on the doorstep. A real blessing and one I'm so thankful for. If any of them are reading this, you should know that you're all really special to me and anyone who moves will be stalked and eventually placed on a hit-man's list. I have connections and a really useful contacts book after years of working in journalism in NI. (You listening R? Now go plant those vegetables and make like you're staying around.)