Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Dream Time

  I have a recurring dream.
  I am starting a course at college / university, and am just moving into my 'digs'.
  That's the recurring bit.

  The rest is liable to change. I may be leaving my parents / sister, or husband. In the last few years I've been leaving my kids too. But it's alright, they are being cared for by someone, and I will see them in the holidays. minimal guilt feelings. Lots of excitement. Digs vary in size / shape - often a room in an old house, sometimes student rabbit hutch. Sometimes old friends will be waiting down the corridor.
I never know what I'm going to study, or where I am - that all seems irrelevant in the dream.

  I think it's all about escapism. It's usually a good dream. Also it's about the fact that I love to study.  I may even confess here (very quietly) that I like doing exams. Weird, eh? I'm sure a psychologist would read a lot more into it, probably not to my credit.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

total fruitcake

Tigs in action.
Amazing how much fun you can have with 2 balloons.

Monday, 13 December 2010

That's about right

"Sometimes I lie awake at night, and I ask, 'Where have I gone wrong'.
Then a voice says to me, 'This is going to take more than one night."
Charles M. Schulz

Our God contracted to a span

   It’s all about a person, male, just now he’s new born. He’s lying in this rather basic cot – more like a cattle feeder – which is all his apparently rather improvident parents could supply him with, (I’m sure the straw must have been very itchy ) and he’s looking up, a little out of focus still, at the early morning sky of his very first day. Maybe he’s thinking ‘bright light, pretty’,  or maybe ‘Hey, when I put it all together in the beginning, there wasn’t a star just there, what’s gone wrong?’ or as God incarnate, perhaps both thoughts are going on in his head simultaneously at totally different levels.

  That little boy is the most passive person in the Christmas story. In the gospel records he’s born, he’s wrapped, he lies in a manger, he gets taken to Jerusalem, and passed like a parcel around the elderly care department of the Temple; he sits on his mothers lap, is run away with to Egypt. All sorts of people visit him, from the local labourers, to exotic foreign scientists. But what was the child Jesus like, and what did he do? And how can we, and our children, relate to him?

  The Christmas story is supposed to be for children, because it’s about a child. But it’s not. I mean it’s neither. God ‘incomprehensibly made man’ is a bit above my head, let alone a five year olds. I cannot grasp it. Truly Gods thoughts are bigger than our thoughts. Way bigger.

 And the other reason it's hard for kids, is that the image the world presents us of the Child is alienating. The books I was given when I was small that told me about His life and what He did and said made Him feel like a member of another species. And it’s not just the capitals.

‘Christian children all must be
Mild, obedient, good as He’

Puke factor ten.
In  my younger sons favourite carol 'Away in a manger'  he doesn't even cry. (He's a BABY. How can he not cry? He's Human.)

  That may be the start of the average child’s alienation from Jesus.
Meek? Yuk. Mild? Pathetic. Gentle? Useless. Not the kid everyone wants to play with. Or be with. He’d show you up, and tell tales on you. He’d refuse to play all the good games in case you woke the baby or annoyed the neighbours. He’d eat his vegetables. He wouldn’t laugh at your jokes. And he is absolutely bound to refuse to go apple scrumping with you…..

  But the only real encounter we have with Jesus as a youngster shows someone very different. (Luke 2 v 41)
  • He’s twelve, nearly grown up in those days, and probably in his own estimation too. But he‘s not grown up, not really. 
  • He’s independent. He is presumed by mum and dad to be travelling with friends, and his Mum and Dad haven’t seen him all day. But they have enough confidence in him not to worry until evening. 
  • He’s got guts. He purposely gets himself left behind alone in a big metropolitan city, one occupied by a militaristic power; where violence and terrorism are common. The only way home is on foot, over dangerous rough roads 
  • He’s bright, and inquisitive. He knows what questions to ask.
  •  He’s pushy. Maybe I should say assertive. How does a builder’s boy on holiday come to the attention of important men reputed to be the wisest in the city?
  •  He knows his own mind, and he knows himself. 
  • He’ll disobey his parents, if he feels it’s the thing to do. The impression given in the last sentence of this story is of a boy who obeys because he chooses to. 
  • He’s not just a local boy, he’s been around; he was brought up in Egypt possibly for some years. 
  • People liked him. He was ‘in favour with God and man’.
    That's the real Jesus child. I'd like to have met him. I wish my kids could get to play with him. I'd love to know what sort of a son, a big brother, a schoolboy he really was.

'Christmas Time, Mistletoe and Wine'

I've had that song in my head for about a week. Keep hearing it in the shops as well. It's a nice dream of an ideal christmas that just doesn't happen - does it?
 OK Cliff it's, shmaltzy, but great to fantasise about.

But what I want to make of Christmas this year IS 'Time to rejoice in the good that we see'

I'm sure our christmas will be great. And I am looking forward to it. So are the boys. We put the tree up yesterday, and Tigs said he was so excited he claimed was about to burst.

We are making the Christmas story with Playmobil figures, to give the boys an idea of what happened.

This is Day 1 - the angel appearing to Mary. The cat is about us still grieving for Mungo. He has crept into a lot of the scenes!

So what am I trying to say? (getting distracted by pictures!) I think the point is we are all expecting so much of Christmas that it is easy to be disappointed at the actual event. We are conditioned by The Media (bow, kowtow) to anticipate a perfect day.  If you put all your hope in one thing you will be disappointed. Things will go wrong. Aunty K will say the wrong thing. The kids will upset grandad by screaming during the Queens speech. S will have chosen me the wrong jumper (or unbelievably, I might get something wrong). So this year I'm going to try and rejoice in the good, and not expect too much.

Woo - I've just seen a robin on our patio table - been trying to get birds to come to the garden for ages! Unexpected pleasures are sometimes the best.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

The Man in Red

He's not our scene.

Tigs came home from his preschool christmas party with a bag of reindeer food.
Now I love Christmas. We have big plans. We have lots of secrets. The boys are beside themselves with excitement.
And they can play the game that S.C. exists as much as they like.
But I'm not feeding that idea.
And I'm not feeding the reindeer.

It's odd isn't it.
At Pups school they are learning about religion, and who believes what. It's ok to say that people believe in this or don't believe in that.
But it is NOT ok to say that the Man in Red is not real.

What does that say about our society????

I'm not sure yet, but I'm working on it.

Snow Business

 We didn't do as well - or as badly - as the North East and Scotland maybe - but we had a very respectable half inch of the white stuff.

Sadly it's already gone. I should be happy, as no doubt many accidents will be avoided, many journeys will be eased by the thaw. But I do love it, snowfall makes the world new (until it turns to slush). I love most seeing freshly fallen snow on the trees (until I walk under one at the wrong moment)

There has been a lot of ice underfoot. Boys have not yet discovered the fun of ice sliding. They were pretty excited though when they looked outside the first snow morning. Tigs who is 4 hated snow in January. He has now had a sudden conversion experience. Pup who is 7 already loves it, although he complains that snowballs are cold. Er  - yes!
Everywhere is cold. Temperatures struggled above freezing twice in the last week. Coldest recorded in our garden so far has been minus 8.

Since I last wrote we've had our wedding anniversary (14th), S's birthday, and today was Isaacs preschool nativity  play.
The Nativity  was the usual trauma - why do the staff put themselves through it? 
  • Mary got pulled off her seat by a small heckler in mid play, and a fight ensued. 
  • Another fight broke out between a wise man and a cow over possession of some gold.
  • Many of the angels (the smallest kids)were screaming on stage.
  • One of the bears - my own Tigs - had his ears on backwards. A cow had his eyes totally covered by his  mask for the entire performance. Didn't seem to bother him.
  • They all looked totally bewildered, most of them did not sing; even Tigs who is music mad, and has been singing the songs non stop at home for the last 3 weeks.
  • and half of them spotted their mums in the audience and wanted OUT. NOW. A few did make successful escapes.
Despite all this the staff kept calm, and somehow it was still a happy event.