Reading List

So, I spent last night finalising the list of things I want to achieve in the next few months, (in a nice relaxing way of course…). First off is the reading list. Which is as follows, but I would love to hear some suggestions too. I want things that might expand my faith, rather than narrow it, things that might make me think, or cover a particular issue.
So far I have the following:

The Bible (yes its obvious but I have never read it all the way through, so I will be starting at the beginning and going through it…) can anyone suggest a study version with good notes?

The Rule of Benedict: This has been quoted by several people recently, in bloggie land and also in’the real world’, and I’d love to know more about it.

Richard Dawkins : The God Delusion – just because…
Darwins Origin of the Species – as above ;)

‘Resurrrection’ by Rowan Williams – this has sat by my bed since Easter, I really need to get on with it…

‘The Jesus I Never Knew’ by Philip Yancey. I did read this some years ago but I want to read it now with my new perspective.

‘Open heart, Open Mind’ by Thomas Keating. I am actually half way through this, about centering prayer. will post on this shortly, its been en eye opener.

Also, although I don’t have specific titles yet I want to read about the following:

Smith Wigglesworth
John Wesley
Corrie Ten Boom
DL Moody

Plus I also had ‘The Heavenly Man’ and ‘Jesus Freaks’ by the band dc Talk on the list, but the first I read on hols (will post on that another day – just humbling) and the second I read last night. Very contemporary but inspiring nonetheless.

any other suggestions?

New life…

Well, having just spent 2 evenings catching up on posts I missed whilst away, I finally come to my own blog. I approach it feeling very rested. We had just a week away. away from the laptop, away from the TV, from facebook, from friends, from housework (well mostly…), from email (239 now waiting in my inbox to be dealt with….), from well, life. And do you know what, it was lovely. In previous years we have sought to plan something for each day, different outings, places to see. This year we just said, no, we are all going to chill out together and most of the time was spent on the beach (strange as the rest of the UK seemd to be in deluge!).

And it really made me realise how much fun life can be as a family when all other distractions are gone, we should do it more often! There was time for copious games of beach cricket, for trips to the park without having to get back for tea or bedtime, to laze in the sun and read a book for an hour, to bake just because I felt like it – not because I had to, to spend time jamming with my husband in the evenings. It was just lovely. even the kids were calmer (well sometimes…)
So now there are a few days left until the kids are back at school and then my ‘new life’ begins. That sounds rather like drawing a line in the sand, but it’s like I have been waiting for this time for so long. From working mercilously long hours, getting stressed, being constantly tired, not having time to spend with my kids and really no end in sight, I have what my heart desired! I prayed for guidance with my business and in Gods grace an opportunity came along far sooner than I thought for me to have a break. I was secretly wishing for 6 months off (well not so secretly as my husband has heard it a hundred times :) ) and that’s what I have, well 4 really, but it’s still a good break. So as of next week I will be working just one morning a week. And I am making myself sit on my hands and not take on anything else in that time. I am a ‘do-er’ so not having a challenge or focus will be tough for me, but I intend to enjoy the time. My husb. has been totally supportive and keeps saying to me ‘you might never have this time again, take the opportunity’.
I do intend to give myself a bit of a routine otherwise I fear I will turn into a ‘lady what lunches’ or at least has a lot of coffee and chat time. So I have a new notebook with some challenges to do in the time, ie: generally jobs that have been put off for years, like sorting out the endless photos that I take, which are stuck in my harddrive; or making some curtains for the landing; or cleaning out the kids toyboxes…that kind of thing.
But actually the one thing I prayed to have more time for, which I have banged on about more than anything on this blog, is having time for God. And yes I know, several of you have pointed out to me that God is everywhere and can be in anything, and I do recognise that completely, but for me, at this point in time, that’s not enough. I want to seek him more. I want to know him more. I want to spend more time in his presence. I want to have time to spend in prayer for others. I want so much more of Him! So I hope that the next few months will be not just a break, but a spiritual journey (if that doesn’t sound too naff..).
I am starting by reading Thomas keating’s ‘Open heart, Open Mind’ about Centering prayer. More on that to follow… Some weeks ago a friend of mine gave me a pebble with the verse ‘Be still and know that I am God’ written on it. That is my guide for my life the next few months, in so many forms. Not just in spending time in his presence, but in life generally. In slowing down and not filling every second, in just being still sometimes, literally!

Simple beauty

In todays paper, amidst all of the utter crap, was a little gem about up and coming sculptor Luke Jerram. Jerram makes glass sculptures of viruses. At first you may think this is rather random, if not a little weird but the sculptures are simply beautiful and yet so simple. Working with a scientists he uses images of various viruses to make his sculptures as near to the actual as possible. Blown up to around a million times their actual size, he does admit that there are some details that cannot be exact, but what he does produce is as near to the germ as possible. What is shows is that even in deadly diseases, is amazing beauty. In a funny way it’s a bit like God saying, well yes, this is a bloody awful thing but at least it can be pretty. There’s a small film below of one of my faves (if that isn’t a weird thing to say about the SARS virus)… but do look at his webiste too, there are some amazing pics.
http://www.lukejerram.com/projects/glass_microbiology

The reason for blogging

Isn’t it funny how it seems to be the ‘in thing’ to question whether one should continue to blog or not. I have lost count of the number of people who have given up recently. It seems to be that people (and I am referring to no one in particular) are imposing rules on their own blogs and why they do it. Which seems a little strange to me. I mean this is MY blog. I write it for me really. Yes it’s nice to get some comments and feedback, and I would be lying if I said don’t smile a little when I see I have a new follower. BUT actually it’s not about any of you, it’s about me getting stuff off my chest. You don’t have to read it if you don’t want to and I don’t temper what I write in case one of you doesn’t like it. (no offence :) )

However over the last few weeks I have not blogged as much as usual. Partly because it’s the summer hols (oh the joys…) and partly because I have found myself a bit boring of late…

I did start writing this blog some 8 months ago (I think…) to chronicle my journey as a new Christian, partly as a diary of sorts but also I had this vain picture that it might help other new Christians. What has actually happened is that I have challenged myself (or God has) in my own writing, and in reading others comments or others blogs, in various areas of my life, not just faith. This has been unbelievably valuable and I have been surprised at how much I have appreciated others thoughts, concerns and comments when for most of you, we have never met. So in actual fact it has been more of a help to me than anyone else!

I am not sure where I am going with this… bit of a ramble, sorry… I had started writing about something else (will post that later, it is far more interesting than this nonsense), but got sidetracked. Anyway I think what I am trying to say is that on this blog there are no rules. I blog when I feel like it, not because I set myself the task of posting every day, every week or 7 1/2 times a month, just when I feel the need to. It does have a theme in that is related to my journey of faith but I do veer from time to time onto a, possibly only slightly, related subject. But what there is, is me. I won’t apologise if one day I take a complete about turn on an issue or if I go against the grain, I am just being me.

So, there, thats said, now onto something more interesting (possibly only slightly…)

Glory in the garden!

This is todays harvest from the veggie patch.
I love picking the veg, it’s so exciting getting out and seeing what is growing. It always amazes me, how a seed so tiny can contain all this information to produce such fantastic plants and such wonderful fruit. I don’t wish to be too gushy, but it really does show me the glory of God in his wonderful creation.
I am a fair weather gardener :) my husband does all the digging (I have a gippy back!) I plant the seeds and then just leave them to get on with it. I am not one who tends lovingly to her garden, so it’s always a bit of a surprise to me to see that things have actually grown! But I guess that is what life is about too. I’m not going to talk about faith growing from a seed as that would be a massive cliche, but you know what I mean, right?!
And a funny thing happened to our veg patch this year. In early summer hundreds of little seedlings appeared, that I hadn’t planted and I couldn’t work out what they were. As they grew I thought they looked like squash or courgette plants, so I left a few of them to grow. We sussed out that as we make our own compost, they must have grown from things thrown into our compost bin, so squash was quite high up the guess list as I love butternut squash! Anyway they have been happily flowering away and started growing small squash like things, all very exciting. Today I went exploting in the undergrowth (there are a lot of these plants and they are huge!) and imagine my surprise when I saw that these ‘squashes’ had become huge and were actually not squashes at all, but pumpkins!! So we now have 10 pumpkins growing and they are huge already (must be all that horse manure…).
So the moral of the story is… even if you think you know what something is growing into, it can still surprise you and take a different turn completely :) (and I’m not just talking about the veg now…!)

Anne Rice claims to quit Christianity

so I get to read the paper for the 4th time this week. I am loving this new ‘less work’ approach to my life :)
Today, I was interested in the claim by Anne Rice (author of ‘Interview with a Vampire’ and others) that she is quitting being a Christian. The headline prompted me to read on, after all there’s not much interesting stuff about Christianity in the media these days: ‘In the name of Christ, I quit being a Chrisitian. Amen’ something which she apparently posted on her facebook page. In fact the line is very misleading as she hasn’t given up on Christianity at all. She is basically distancing herself from ‘the church’, rules, dogma, and so on. What she is not doing is giving up on Christ. I read the article with some interest, but I was surprised to find myself agreeing with her. She says: ‘I refuse to be anti-gay. I refuse to be anti-feminist. I refuse to be anti-artificial birth control. I refuse to be anti-democrat. I refuse to be anti-secular humanism. I refuse to be anti-science. I refuse to be anti-life.’ However she also states that she remains committed to Christ. It is true that the phrase ‘I am a Christian’ provokes all sorts of reactions, usually not favourable, unless of course you happen to be standing in the middle of a New Wine conference when you say it.
Frankly when you see the crap going on all over the world in the name of Christianity, I don’t blame her. (and I refer to my previous post about the fake marriages) Perhaps we need more ‘renegade’ Christians?
The bottom line about my faith is that I want to follow Jesus, I want to be more like him. I want to live my life for him. That does not mean judging others on their behaviour, attitudes or life choices. It does not mean turf wars between local churches. It does not mean invoking hefty rules and regulations about how one should live ones life. Following Christ is an individual choice. It has to be so. God, with infinite grace, gives us the choice to believe in Him (or not as the case may be). Everyone who believes in Christ has their own story, their own reasons for believing, their own relationship with God. So does it matter if we are not all clubbed under the one heading?
Rice put it like this:
‘…following Christ does not mean following his followers. Christ is infinitely more important than Christianity and always will be, no matter what Christianity is, has been, or might become.’
well said that woman.