That is one of my favourite ever nursery rhymes and it is now my sons favourite too. I don’t know much about the planets or stars if I’m honest but I have always just loved the sky, the clouds, the colours, day time sky, night time sky, stars, the moon…. especially the stars…. God determines the number of stars and gives them their names (psalm 147:4).
Lift up your eyes on high and see: who created these? He who brings out their host by number, calling them all by name, by the greatness of his might, and because he is strong in power not one is missing. (Isaiah 40:26)
Isn’t that beautiful.
I can remember standing at our back door, probably in the months before I was saved ten years ago, drinking copious amounts of vodka and coke and smoking, looking up at the sky and repeating the rhyme
Star light, star bright,
First star I see tonight,
I wish I may, I wish I might,
Have this wish I wish tonight.
Almost feverishly, over and over
and wishing desperately for all sorts of things, to know love, to meet someone, to be loved, especially to be loved. for life to be made right…. I can remember crying out saying that’s all I want, to be loved….
I can remember repeating it over and over and crying, (in a little bit of a drunken haze, but in genuine spiritual pain), looking up at the stars and crying out to God without even realising it. I needed him and I was asking for help.
Publishing this feels really vulnerable, I almost don’t want to because I’m putting my private feelings on display, but I am going to because life and even life with Jesus means we go through pain and suffering and bad times, as well as good. The main difference is that Jesus is our hope, He is real, He loves you and he cries with you or laughs! with you. He gives you life and does life with you.
The other main difference is that if we try to do what the world tells us to do and fix ourselves, for our joy, our happiness to come from within us, it is an impossible feat, it does not last. Jesus is the light that enlightens everyone, he is the way in life, the only way to get what feels impossible. He is why you are here.
Regarding our house sale, the builder fella came around yesterday to check what needs doing damp proofing wise, he was really friendly and seemed realistic and honest. So we’re waiting to hear that all is well and our sale is going through.
Not heard anything on the croft since we heard our offer had been accepted in principle, I’ll feel a lot happier once the advert actually goes under offer though. I contacted them again yesterday to find out what happens next. Whether it officially goes under offer at some point or whether it is because it has been accepted. It is the in principle bit I’m not sure about.
I’m really, really enjoying life on the allotment at the moment, there are turnips growing, sprouts, cabbages (only a few because they got eaten even though they are netted), runner beans flowering, summer and winter squash growing, courgettes, sweetcorn plants, onions, spinach, a few beetroot, lettuce and spring onions. One reason I’m really enjoying it is it seems it is the first year since we got the allotment that I’ve really been able to make a difference and do a lot of the work. It’s because I was pregnant with our toddler when we first got it and since then had the old post natal depression/anxiety /lack of get up and go and then another baby. Life has been busy! But busy is not necessarily bad and now the two boys generally play for a while whilst I do some work. I also LOVE going on with them, being outside is good, for them and for me and our relationship.
The little one has now started bum shuffling (he has got quite fast) and I leave him in one place and look up and he’s in a veg bed with something interesting like mud held between his finger and thumb, on it’s way to his mouth, like the finest delicacy. Mr toddler is also starting to take an interest in the names of plants and of taking care of the beds and doing things like hoeing etc. I just have to watch he doesn’t dig my plants up. It’s brilliant this year because we never actually got round to planting any potatoes so he has basically got his own patch to play on/dig up/roll around in/learn to garden/whatever he likes. He has been loving it.
We still have our four hens on the allotment too, they’re about 14 months old now, only three are laying at the moment, but one does look like it has been going through a moult, so maybe she will start again. We are going to need to rehome them very soon (it looks like we have found a home for them). I love having chickens, but I think it would be a bit much to take them 700 ish miles with us.
We can’t wait to get moved and start getting set up, I love the thought of getting our new chickens there, we will be able to have a rooster too! (we can’t where we are at the moment) and maybe ducks and sheep to start with. We are planning on putting chickens on the vegetable garden to clear it over autumn/winter (depending when we get there) and then sorting that out next year. It is walled but the wall has disappeared under grass, so hopefully we can get the wall uncovered and the house will have a walled garden again.
We have a dream/wish list in relation to the croft, one of which is a large polycrub in which we would be able to grow just about any veg/fruit/flowers we want. The problem in Shetland as far as I am aware is the wind and so a polycrub would be ideal. The only thing is the cost of the polycrub, we are praying that we will be able to get one.
We are also planning/wanting to plant some trees which should be suitable for the area, we have been researching a little on what would be the best options for the area – some of the suitable trees are downy birch and hazel and we should hopefully be able to use these somewhere on the croft as a wind break/shelter as well as having the joy of actually having trees there. There aren’t many on Shetland from what I have heard. I have seen this week that the woodland trust sell landowner packs of trees and there is a pack called wild wood tree pack which looks ideal, even more so because the ones that are out of stock are not ones we wanted and the ones they are offering are the ones we wanted. So getting and planting these would be so good to do. It’s good that Chris and I are so on the same page with this really, we love planning this sort of thing, the gardens, the land, the trees.
When Jesus was first making himself obvious to me, I had been asking him whether he was real because I was desperate and did not know where to go with my life, I felt like I had no hope. I suppose everything had been made clear to me that “things” and even people just don’t cut it and hiding yourself in things like drinking don’t really work. I can remember driving into the countryside, specifically from Chesterfield into Ashover and praying the Lord’s prayer because it was all I knew regarding prayer really and begging Him that if he really was there to help me and I looked around and the fields and trees and skies had suddenly become brighter and just spectacular, it was in technicolour. So one of the ways he showed me himself was via the outdoors. It was just awesome.
I’ve seen some interesting news in the last few weeks as well, Shetland is going to be homing some Syrian refugees, I feel really excited about this, we are still involved with the world! we are not cut off! I have to admit I have been wondering what sort of stuff we will be doing there and dreaming of what God may have for us to do. Dreaming is good, dreams can become reality, especially when you pray them, especially if it is actually God giving you those dreams…
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever.
I love this prayer. When you actually look at the words and what they mean, it is just brilliant.
(I don’t generally do the whole olde speak thy/thou thing, but I do with this prayer, because it is how I learnt it when I was young, and I like it. But you don’t have to, you can talk to God however you are comfortable, he loves you to talk to him).
This is a lighthearted post and the title actually came from my friend, thank you for being you and not chucking us out 😀
As I said in yesterday’s blog, we went to Ashbourne on Saturday to visit the sheep fair. Whilst we were there we parked on a friend’s drive whilst we walked down into the town. When we got back, they invited us in for a drink and a chat…. which was lovely. We know this couple fairly well, I’ve known them for the last decade and they’ve been my spiritual parents really in our church. So we are fairly relaxed around them…
However, my toddler has had a bit of regression regarding toilet training recently, in particular in relation to poo and whilst we were there I had to take him to clean him up. It was a good one, literally in his shoes…So I cleaned him up, sent him back out with clean underwear etc etc, whilst muttering under my breath. Then, I decided it would be a good idea to rinse his pants under the tap (in my defence, I had got rid of the excess poo). It wasn’t a good idea. It was one of those moments when you really wish you’d done it differently. It was so bad it was really funny. The sink blocked up and filled with brown water. IN MY FRIEND’s HOUSE. I was like, no, no, no, no, nooooooo. Then tried to ladle out the excess with a plastic soap bottle that hardly had any left in it, because that was all I had. I ladled it out and put it down the toilet and tried in vain to unblock the sink. I ended up wandering out and saying nonchalently “you haven’t got a sink plunger have you?”
It was sort of horrific but also sort of the most funny, seriousness breaking, side splitting brilliant moments. I haven’t actually laughed like that or found something so funny in so long. Talk about humbling yourself, I blocked my friend’s sink with my toddler’s poo. There you have it. It still makes me giggle when I think about it. Sorry.
and kudos to them for sorting it out without moaning (at least to me)….I think they thought it was funny…I think…
Our sincerest apologies but oh I haven’t laughed so much in ages.
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones (proverbs 17:22 ESV)
On Saturday we went to Ashbourne sheep fair, on the recommendation of a friend. It was brilliant. They had all different breeds of sheep, brief talks about them, loads of wool at all stages of processing and quite a few people there with spinning wheels, spinning the wool. They were so friendly and helpful, I saw one lady had a drop spindle which is what I bought recently and exclaimed “a drop spindle, I’ve just bought one and don’t have a clue what to do with it!”, she then showed me and also showed me how to use her spinning wheel and how to tease the wool out. She also advised on the type of spinning wheel to get if we were going to be serious about spinning our own wool. I’m not kidding, the ladies that were doing it were so good at it and it just looked so relaxing. One of them said she sometimes nearly falls asleep whilst she is doing it. Another spinner also talked to me about the best types of wool to use and what not to use to start with (apparently Merino is a difficult one). I so enjoyed it and meeting them. There were a couple there with their Shetland sheep (they don’t live in Shetland) and we spoke to them. We don’t have to have Shetland sheep because we are going to live on Shetland, but they do look ideal, they’re fairly small, they lamb easily, have plenty of milk for their lambs, seem fairly tough and apparently are easy to handle and are nice natured. They are also not prone to foot problems. Their wool is good to work with and according to the people we spoke to they are self shedding which may mean they don’t need shearing, but we need to look into that a bit more. There was another called a Ryeland, which we also quite fancied (as in to keep on the croft to eat the grass and for wool) it looks a bit like a teddy bear and has good wool for spinning.
My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.My Father, who has given them to me,is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.I and the Father are one. (John 10:27-30)
Jesus is talking about us and himself in the above writing, I love this passage, it sums up the gospel really, if we know Jesus and put him in charge of our lives, he knows us intimately and we are safe because we have eternal life with him, he is in charge and we are with him and trust him. Nothing and nobody can change this fact, including ourselves. It also says that Jesus is God, which is confusing sometimes, but he is, he came to earth fully man and fully God, put himself at the mercy of humans as a baby and then lived with his family growing up and experiencing all human life, even though he is God. That is quite remarkable. It’s like a king deciding to become part of a normal family but not telling them who he is, just being there with no pride, no thoughts that he is better than anyone else, just being and growing and learning and then starting his ministry in his thirties where he proclaimed the kingdom of God, saved, delivered and healed all who came to him. Well, it is a king doing that actually, the King of Kings!
Jesus ought to be the ultimate feminist icon really, he hung out with, spoke to, healed and forgave women at a time when they were classed as pretty lowly. I love the story of a woman caught in adultery, I’ve always identified quite strongly with this particular story. The Jewish religious people brought a woman to Jesus who they said had been caught in the act of adultery. According to the law, they could stone her, Jesus just seemed to keep really calm and said: let him who is without sin cast the first stone. He was the only one without sin and could have condemned her, stoned her, given them permission to stone her, but he did not – He said:
Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?”
“No, Lord,” she said.
And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”
Not that Monday morning makes that much difference to me, I’m a stay at home mum at the moment, so I don’t go back to work on the Monday. I have found being a stay at home mum a very hard experience in such a lot of ways, challenging! Not quite how I originally envisaged it – skipping along in fields covered in daisies etc etc. However, I cannot express enough how grateful I am for being able to do it and how grateful I am for my children and this time with them. The days when I was pregnant and rushing around in the morning feeling so sick and tired and then going to work as a district nursing sister with a lot of responsibility and a challenging environment (for a number of reasons, the main one being a lot of work and not enough staff) are over! for now…
This was me! 8 years ago!
I do like challenges and I am one of those people who has always worked better under pressure and tends to get a bit lazy sometimes when there is none, but! I think (from experience) you can only sustain high levels of activity and problem solving for a while, then you need a break. If you don’t get one, you either just get tired and keep going anyway, which probably means you don’t work to the best of your ability or you burn out.
I haven’t worked in healthcare now for just over 3 1/2 years but it has been a good break. The NHS is so good, but there are also so many things wrong with the way it works, and quite frequently in the way it treats its nurses. Also, in the way the public often treats the nurses, in a lot of ways I found the professional capabilities and decision making skills of the nurses were undermined in favour of a demanding patient, who, for example, wanted their ears syringing and they wanted them doing “now!” even though there may not even be the capacity on that particular day/week/month to do so. Even worse, the demanding ones were quite frequently the ones who could actually make an appointment and get out to a surgery, but did not want to, often because historically they had been seen by the district nursing team. Because of public opinion of the nurses/NHS starting to matter more than the actual team and their capacity/capabilities/professional decision making it had seemed in many ways to be the ‘he who shouts loudest gets the best care service’.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved community nursing, the teams I was part of and the people I met and the patients, whatever they were like. I loved the organisation involved in being the sister in charge of the team and I actually quite often liked the people in management too. I don’t like the whole slag the managers off mentality very much. But it is hard work and when I worked there, the nurses did not have the support they needed. I think this was probably a much bigger issue than the local primary care trust, it was more a funding/national issue. It was always put to you that you could work smarter rather than have more staff and sometimes you could. But it is very hard to work smarter when you are just working fending off phone calls, dealing with low staffing levels, and quite frequently low staff morale, seeing seriously ill patients and always trying, trying, trying to give the best care possible. Exhausting.
So, you community health care professionals out there, you nurses, you doctors, you matrons, specialist nurses, OT’s, physio’s, podiatrists, managers! admin staff and anyone else I have forgotten, you are so talented, so committed, so good at what you do. Keep on keeping on, do the best you can. You community nurses are some of the most dedicated people I have ever met and it was most definitely a gift to be part of that group, although tough. People need to know that, it is not just meandering around ‘popping’ in to see patients, just to check up on them. It is a serious, professional, skilled job, managing complex patients with various problems and with the addition of all the documentation requirements, very, very time consuming. There are so many challenges, but it is worthwhile, I learnt so much from all the different patients I met over the years, I loved that part of it, meeting them and seeing how we could help them or work with them.
This post did not set out to go on about district nursing, it just turned out like that. My sincerest love to all I have worked with and I just want you to know you are brilliant and God loves you! (had to get that in).
Our house sale is still going through at the moment, there’s a tradesman coming round to assess what needs doing on our house and then hopefully it will still go through. So, thought I might write on something slightly different today.
If you are a sensitive animal loving, no kill type, please look away from this post now. It is about killing a chicken to eat, although it is not a graphic description in any way.
Before we knew we were moving I hatched three chicks, Light Sussex ones. This is one just after it had hatched.
I don’t really like putting this photo up with what the content is about, but I want to face reality, not run away from it.
When we didn’t get the chicken’s accommodation sorted in time and then decided we were moving too, friends of ours took them (thank you!). However, at that point it was not obvious whether they were hens or cockerels. Then over the past couple of weeks it became obvious that one was definitely a cockerel. Therefore, we said, if that happened we would take him back and deal (dispatch) with him (if no other home could be found). I know some people have very strong feelings on this, but my feelings are, I eat chicken and I think it is fairly hypocritical of me to eat it but not to want to face the process of actually seeing or doing what is involved. Also, with the lifestyle we will be going for on the croft (hopefully) of aiming for self sufficiency, it will be necessary to do such things. However, reality doesn’t always go along with how you decide things will be.
I fetched him and in the morning despatched him by pulling his neck and then bleeding him. I found this process fairly harrowing to be honest and in the future I think it’ll be either bolt stunner or air pistol all the way maybe combined with using a cone, in which you place the chicken upside down, which apparently puts them in a more relaxed state too. Although you still have to bleed them. I guess you become used to it. We’ve looked at bolt stunners and they look the simplest, safest way to us.
Although I found the killing to be a bit traumatic, I didn’t have a problem with the actual plucking and cleaning up and preparation of the bird. I actually found it really interesting. Especially looking at the organs and what they were, there was a bright green bile sack attached to the liver, you have to be careful not to pierce it or you colour the chicken green. I would think it would probably make it taste really bitter as well.
After preparing it, we roast the chicken and had it for dinner last night. It was really nice, but it was so so strange knowing that I had killed it and that it had been alive that same day. I have never, ever, killed an animal before, never mind killed it and eaten it. It was also weird that I kept questioning whether I had done it correctly and whether I might poison my family! When we get them from the shops we think that they will be absolutely fine despite the fact they have probably been kept in much worse conditions. We are so weird sometimes us humans. We have twisted what should be normal i.e preparing your own food into something abnormal. I do feel that doing this has made me appreciate the animal more (weirdly) and that I will think more carefully about what I eat and not just eat meat because it is there. This is so strange and difficult to explain! I kept thinking about it last night and how it went.
Our children did not see the killing, but they did see the preparation. The toddler was just really, really interested, it didn’t seem to bother him in the slightest. We talked about it and discussed that we only do this when absolutely necessary and he ate some breast meat for dinner. So, onwards and upwards, I have learnt some lessons from this one and hopefully will be a little more prepared next time, if there is one.