Pages

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Becoming a Bookworm...

I seem to have become a bookworm!  These days I'm regularly seen scoping out the shelves of our little island library, snooping my fellow bookworm friends pinterest accounts for ideas of my next read and I've even rearranged our house to suit my new obsession!  My books are now proudly on show, no longer shoved in baskets, they're neatly rowed up on the bookshelf above our couch, inspiring me and calling me to pick up and read!  

Maybe my new found love comes from a new level of concentration that actually enables me to read... something that hasn't been there for a good many months.  Yes, I'm enjoying having that portion of my brain back and hope that those Lyme bugs stay out of there for good so I can keep enjoying my books :)

Anyway, so this week I was reminded of a section in a book I read quite a while ago and so today I've had to find it and re-read that chapter.  As I read, these words are speaking right to my heart as I realize this is the exact thing that God's been teaching me... re-teaching me... this week:

"I'm the type of person, you see, who rushes ahead, who often just goes through the motions of any current activity on my way to the next one.  My heart and my body haven't always been good at sharing the same space.  Instead of relishing each moment, each year, each opportunity, each step on the journey, I'm constantly overeager to get to the next thing... I'm rarely satisfied in full with my present station."

"...I hadn't really been in attendance for large portions of my life... I was present for all those years of my life as a student, a wife, a mom - a woman - and yet there was so little I could really remember, few emotions I could recall that accompanied some of the events of life.  Why?  Because I'd been there, but I hadn't really been there."

"...I realized this feeling had a name: discontentment.  He shows up at your doorstep just like mine, eager to step inside and make himself at home.  But instead of only coming for short visits on rare occasion, he refuses to leave, spreading his baggage everywhere, filling up corners of your space that you thought you'd locked up to this odious intruder.  He comes.  He lingers.... Then before you know it, you've missed out on the joys of the journey, the growth that comes from battling through difficulties, the sweet joy and savory experience of creating memories..."  - Priscilla Shirer

I've had this "visitor", "coming for short visits on rare occasion", he's been with me again recently and I've decided it's time to kick him out!  What a great reminder to let go and enjoy life!  

True godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. - 1 Timothy 6:6

I get asked a lot what I do with my time while I've not been able to be my usual active-run-around-self... so now you know... I read! and I've also been making these cards! 



Love to you all from across the water xxx



Crossing the water!

It seems my blogs recently have all been "big ones", so, just so you're not bracing yourself... there's no big news today! : )  ...well except that we're moving to England at the end of this Summer!  I guess that's pretty big!  Ah yes, life keeps throwing us these things.  I so identify with a comment that I read in the book I'm reading this week by Mark Buchanan "...God is relentless, always pressing that wound.  He is always calling us higher up the mountain, deeper down the valley, father out on the water.  And some days, I just want life to be easier.  My wife said to me awhile back, "Sometimes I want a holiday...  A little time off from God."   I know that all these things are sent to refine us and make us more into the person God wants us to be.  But I really do find myself sometimes asking Him for a break!  You know what I mean?!

Anyway, so from one island back to a bigger one, good old Great Britain here we come.  We're excited for the new challenge and adventure that lies ahead as we'll be working with my parents in the family business.  I for one am also excited, obviously for all our friends and family but definitely also for fish and chips, bonfire night, blackcurrent liqourice, x factor, pancake day and a cozy village pub (ok, not just any village pub, maybe one in particular! .. you know who you are! :)  )


                    
From this....


To this!


To see a little more of where we'll be and what we'll be doing, have a look at the website: www.tottergill.co.uk




Monday, 18 February 2013

Thankful?

A couple of weeks ago, we had a surprise phone call from our neighbours letting us know they'd like to give us a voucher for a night in a hotel in Victoria.  They're going away and won't be able to use it.  Did we want it?!  Err.. YES!  Didn't take us long to decide that!  We were left a little dumb founded not only in the way of being given an unexpected gift, but also in a way of having God answer a seemingly insignificant wish.  Not even a prayer.  We'd been hoping and planning on getting away after the events of this past month and had just decided that we weren't going to be able to make it work.  A little defeated, we'd put it to the back of our minds.  And now, here we were, planning our little getaway :)


From our hotel room

It was nice to get away, and to just be.  Our hotel was great, and had an amazing view of the sun setting over Victoria Harbour as we got ready to go out for dinner.  A rare treat for us.  Island life isn't exactly conducive to going out for dinner on a whim!

Parliament Buildings lit up at night 
- one of my favourite things about Victoria!

We were all set to have a nice walk around downtown and keep our little break going as long as possible and then return home the next evening.  But, when I needed to "try out the camping chairs" in one of Ken's favourite outdoor shops, I knew I couldn't last much longer.  The all too familiar feeling of exhaustion and full body weakness was back.  The shop assistants asked us a couple of times if we were ok, perhaps hoping for a quick sale on their lingering stock of fold out camping chairs that I seemed to be enthusiastically trying out?!  We decided it was time to head home earlier than planned.

Our drive home was pretty quiet.  Trying to wrap our heads around going backwards again when for so long I seem to have been making good progress, and the benefits to my health of being pregnant had seemed to linger for these weeks since the miscarriage.  

How do we handle it when there's heart wrenching disappointment? A time when it seems that God is somehow letting us down?  He never said it would be easy.  We aren't promised health, wealth and prosperity the minute we put our trust in Him.  Yet, somehow, when things aren't going well I feel like it's a reflection on whether or not He loves me and how I'm doing in my life. ... not true.

Sunday night services here at Capernwray are a time when the students (and staff sometimes) get to share what God's been teaching them.  I rarely go, but this week felt up to and so we went.  A guy shared how he's been trying to figure out what God wanted him to do with his life (... haven't we all?!)  And shared some things that have been on my heart too, he read out these verses:


Even though sometimes I feel totally crushed by my circumstances, I'm reminded to keep being thankful.  In amongst all the questions and the unknowns, that seems like a happily simple task.  I don't have to know everything, I just have to be present in each moment and recognise: I have ALOT to be thankful for!


Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Lessons from The Cat in the Hat!

This week I've been reading a great book.  It's written by a local pastor, Mark Buchanan.  He also happens to have written some really good books.  This one is called "The Rest of God" and it was an anniversary gift from Ken for our first anniversary - paper, for one year! :)

There's an account in this book of a man who's story is quite similar to mine and it was a challenge to remember again some of what I think God has been trying to teach me through this past year.

" "He makes me lie down in green pastures," Psalm 23 says. If we don't choose to lie down, God sometimes makes us... A man in my church became sick and couldn't shake it. It went on for months. He was usually a man who went full tilt at everything, night and day.  In Dr. Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, there's a page where that frolicsome, troublesome cat is pirouetting on a rubber ball while balancing a teetering mountain of stacked objects: a fishbowl on a rake, a tray with a milk jug on his free foot, a cake and a teacup on his hat, a toy boat on one hand and a tower of books on the other.  He holds a Japanese fan in the curled tip of his tail.  The cat claims he's capable of even greater feats than this.  But:

That is what the cat said...
Then he fell on his head!
He came down with a bump
From up there on the ball.
And Sally and I, 
We saw ALL the things fall.

That's a suitable metaphor for this man's life.  The sickness stripped him down.  The sickness collapsed him and scattered his circus act.  He had to spend whole days and weeks housebound, idle, waiting, banking energy just to go up and down stairs... One day he said to me, "I know God is trying to get my attention.  I just haven't figured out yet what He wants my attention for.  He must want me to do something."
I thought for a moment. "Maybe," I said, "that's the problem: you  think He wants your attention in order for you to do something. Maybe He just wants your attention." (From The Rest of God by Mark Buchanan)

Yep, I said to myself.  I hear ya!  I'm not flying around from one task to another anymore, or 3 tasks to 3 tasks as the case may have been.  This circus act is over!  I'm thankful to be learning to take time and pay attention.  To rest, not just physically, and to see how important it is to just "be".  


Friday, 1 February 2013

February Update

Well, I'm not gonna lie, I'm waving the month of January off with a smile on my face, glad that it's over!  It's been a rough few weeks as I think most of you will already know.  We lost our baby at the beginning of the month and with that came heart break and a lot of questions.  Most of them directed at God.  

As we came out of the hospital and I'd been bravely trying to hold it together while I was in there (albeit unsuccessfully!) we walked out and I just had to let it all out.  I was angry, upset, confused, hurt, exhausted.... and more.  We sat together, Ken & I, waiting for our ride from the hospital.  As we talked and mostly I just cried, I was hit by a profound truth.  I knew, in that moment, that I had a choice to make as to how I was going to respond.  Would I run from God, angry and bitter, confused and hurt?  Or would I run to Him, knowing that even though I don't know what He's doing, He does.  He's still God of the universe, of my circumstance and that ultimately He has a plan.  Maybe, to you, it sounds like a no brainer.  But honestly to me, I know that it was His Grace prompting me to make that decision in that very moment.  Otherwise I really don't know where I would be today.  I chose Him, and still do, each time those doubts and hurts come to the surface again.  


It's not that that decision made it easy for me to recover emotionally, or physically for that matter.  It didn't.  But, it did give me perspective.  Perspective to see that what we go through can sometimes rock our boat, and turn our world upside down.  It can make us question things we never thought we'd question.  It can make us think that we might never get up again.  But, we have a choice.  There's a Hope.  His name is Jesus.