Coffee

I admit, I love my coffee! I have certain favourites from certain coffee places, but I also really love a cup of coffee just made at home. The warm liquid is comforting…

So we drove back from France to England and on the way I just really fancied a coffee. We stopped and I asked for a skinny vanilla late…. it was a stop at a well known chain, but the coffee lady was clearly new at her job.

A few miles further down I took a sip from my coffee… yuk!!!! the weirdest taste ever, def not a latte!

Opened the lid and stared into my cup of warm milk…. no coffee!!!!

We were debating what to do, and decided to stop at the next rest stop to buy an espresso and add that to the warm milk. It made it drinkable, but only just.

This thought me 2 lessons: always check your coffee before you leave the shop and I don’t like warm vanilla flavoured milk!

It’s a bit like going to church, listening to the sermon, participating in singing, chatting with the fellow participants … but then going home to forget all about God until the following week. Like shutting God out of life, just allowing Him to interact in a very specific setting.

Going through life like drinking warm milk without the coffee. A latte needs the coffee, and God needs the daily interaction in our life. And we need our daily interaction with God too! A perfectly flavoured coffee, fitting together well!!

28 Years

Oh my, time flies… it’s already the end of the first month of 2020, and it really feels like the year just started! However, January is a special month for us and no matter what.. she still looks forward to her birthday!!

I can’t remember the weather, this day 28 years ago. I can barely remember the days following.. but I can remember turning from a woman to a mother! She was the tiniest little thing, a number of weeks early.. but from day one she wrapped up around her little finger.

Today we celebrate her 28th birthday. It’s gone so fast! But still, each day I am so thankful for becoming her mum! We celebrated in style in a funky restaurant in Marlow where we had not been before. A birthday candle on the cake is still fun and asking the singer to sing happy birthday to her is a whole level of more fun!

Maybe this is what God means when He refers to Jesus as His Son. A whole other little of delight. Even if I don’t really understand how the Godhead works, I can so imagine the love flowing through Him when He recognised His Son!

Or the joy Jesus feels when we call Him our father and we recognise ourselves as His kids. A parental relationship is so special! One of deep trust and mutual love.

Melody, am so proud of the young woman you have become! Thank you for celebrating with us!

Another Day

Time has gone so fast, and I realise we have not written anything for some time! The new year started and the family is already back into the swing of things. It’s almost like Christmas never happened!

It’s now the 3rd Sabbath of the month and I guess it’s no longer appropriate to wish folks happy New Year!

However, that’s just what this is all about. New year, new beginnings, good intentions.

I did not really make any. I know I break them as soon as I make them. But still, reflection of the year past and figuring out the future year can’t really be escaped. So caught up in the hype, I did at least tell myself that this year i would try and think of my own needs a little more. Spending time doing things I love just because I love them.

If you ask how I have fared these first 3 weeks of the year.. Uhm.. not so good. However there is one thing I really love doing that relaxes me… Crocheting. I prefer not to do that alone though, it’s fun to do that together with my daughter. But as I am often away, I do find myself often crocheting by myself. Each stitch is done in a rhythm, while my thoughts freely flow. Maybe it’s just a daily reflection, going through the day, self examining and often praying for those around me.

Come to think of it, maybe that should be my good intention for the rest of this year. Starting each day with devotion, and finishing each day with reflection.

My current devotional is ‘my utmost for His highest’ by Oswald Chambers. I subscribe and daily the thought for that day is emailed to me. (https://utmost.org)

Maybe this year we can motivate each other to keep going?

Almost Christmas

It’s a few days before Christmas… although it does not really feel like it is. The media reminds me though, with advertisements for all sorts of things: last mailing dates, last shipping dates, last day to buy the turkey, sales of all sorts to motivate me to buy presents. And yet… it does not feel like it’s Christmas soon.

I am sad that so often Christ is taken out of Christmas. It’s a commercial transaction, which needs reminding as we don’t spend enough otherwise. But there is no reminding of the reason why we even celebrate Christmas.

Does Christmas still have the same meaning? Is it still the moment where we can remember that our Saviour was born on this earth with the purpose of showing us what real love is?

Churches put on special programs. Our own church has a beautiful Christmas Eve candle service, with music, singing and the Christmas story. For me that’s a highlight of remembrance. (
https://youtu.be/Zkj3lVQMlps ) On Facebook I see many other programs advertised, so there is plenty opportunity to celebrate.

Everyone has their own way of celebrating, and as such there are no right or wrong way. But for me, it’s important to take a few moments and really focus on the reason for the season. The love Jesus has shown us by going back to very humble beginnings, to be born as a helpless baby, and the purpose for His life are what I want to focus on. After all, it’s the prelude to the most important event in history: his death and resurrection, so we can live!

It’s nearly Christmas.. out of the busyness will be beauty, when I lit the candles on Christmas Eve….

Silent Night, Holy Night.. all is calm… all is bright

Merry Christmas!

Beach and Sorts

Some weekends are even better than others. Sometimes it’s just brilliant to just take time out and enjoy all that is around you. It revitalises, enriches, and just makes you plain grateful for the life you are able to lead.

Last weekend was just one of those weekends. We were blessed enough to be able to spend the weekend in Guanacaste, a hot tropical paradise in north west Costa Rica. Konrad, a colleague and friend of mine, was willing to drive us there and back.. not sure if the pictures below show the roads, but for this European, those roads are better described as dirt roads with craters, rivers to cross, and seatbelts tested to the max. Needless to say, we would not have gone there if I would have been the driver. One look and it would have been.. sorry Mel, time to turn back…

Our purpose was to spot turtles, who nest in flocks in Ostional. The call the phenomena Arribada, which unfortunately we mist by a month. Turtles were still spotted but those we also missed. Hatchlings did not come out while we were there. However, the times we were there it was hot, and hatchlings would not survive in that heat.. so maybe for the best after all. We did see lots of evidence of turtles there.. nests, empty eggcasings, hatchling tracks, turtle tracks…. it just made it all very real and a huge reason to come back one day!!!!!

What was weird, shops selling turtle eggs… something I may never understand… and for sure not something i would ever try!!

What we did experience: beautiful beaches, sunsets and nature, amazing food, friendship, waking up to the sounds of monkeys, hummingbirds, butterflies etc.

Mel had the opportunity to snorkel and saw an Octopus, she was happy!! She spotted a couple Whales in the ocean.. and her marine biology appetite was satisfied also.

Writing this does the weekend no justice. It’s something I want to see again!

I am truly marvelled at the beauty of this world, created for us to enjoy. With the word of the Psalmist (19:1) the Heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the works of His hands.

 

It’s Friday

Some weeks fly by, others drag and never end. But always I am so happy when it is Friday. The end of the week. The beginning of the Day of rest.

Today we drove to the Starbucks estate ‘Alsacia’ for a few hours of rest and restoration. The views were beautiful, and I felt the stress slipping away from my shoulders.

Tomorrow it’s Sabbath, where rest and restoration can continue. As we are in Costa Rica, am sure it will involve pool time and admiring beautiful views.

Below a few snaps of the beautiful estate, maybe it will inspire you too.

Psalm 55:6 oh that I had the wings of a dove. I’d fly away and be at rest…

Time Flies

It’s been a while since I last posted.. in the mean time my favourite season of the year has begun and I am reminded once again of the beauty of nature and the more sobering thought of death.

It’s been almost a year since my father-in-law passed away. I remember driving through beautiful autumn scenery on the way to the funeral. A reminder of death but also certainly of new life. Even though the leaves are falling, the promise of new life is still there. It was and is a comforting thought throughout the grievance process. Life ends, but new life is coming.

Maybe that’s the reason I love autumn so much. The beautiful colours are like a last swan song, before the leaves fall to the ground. They make space for new life after being dormant for the winter season. Just like people. After all, as a Christian I do not believe this life is the only one. I believe in life after death, after a dormant period of sleeping. Waiting for the soon return of Jesus.

I am also approaching the autumn season of my life. My birthday is approaching again and another year has just flown by. Often I don’t even remember all the events that have taken place through the previous year, time just goes so fast! I have many dreams and hopes for the future, but know that the autumn colours do not stay. Still, I will hold fast on the promise of the soon return of Jesus, even if I may fall asleep before that event.

Autumn.. so many promises, so many beautiful memories, and so much to look forward to in the future!

I love the below song ‘Autumn Leaves’ by Eva Cassidy (a woman whose leaf has also fallen to the ground). If you have a chance, listen to the words. The link to the YouTube clip is added below.

The falling leaves drift by my window
The falling leaves of red and gold
I see your lips the summer kisses
The sunburned hands I used to hold
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
Since you went away the days grow long
And soon I’ll hear old winter’s song
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall
I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall

I love Autumn!

Tea and Sorts

One of my all time favourite things to do is to have a proper afternoon tea somewhere, with my daughter Melody. We have done simple traditional ones, special ones, in beautiful locations, or just in a farm shop.

It’s exciting to see what will be served, ensuring our typical dietary requirements can be met. The joy we feel leading up to the event, trying to decide what teas to try, thinking about the cakes that will be served and what the ambience will be like.

Yesterday we had the pleasure to have an afternoon tea at Waddesdon Manor, the former house of the Rothschild family. The house on the outside looks like a country castle in France! So beautiful. The inside is very opulent, and dark. Still, we were looking forward to our lovely cup of tea!

Often the cakes are the highlight, we were surprised as this time the savoury won! Lovely little goats cheese/spinach tarts, little smoked pieces of fish… all just delicious! As we had our tea late, we were the only ones left in the non descriptive room they use for this treat.

We will not likely go back to have tea there, but we can certainly say we have had tea at a Manor House!

Jesus loved to socialise around food too. He ate with people, associated himself with people. His first encounter to start His ministry was a wedding with food and drink! In the book of Luke are 10 stories of Jesus eating with people! He knew it’s was the perfect opportunity to learn more through friendship, learning about who He is.

John 6:35 ‘I am the Bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry , and whoever believes in me will never go thirsty’

Maybe that’s why I like having an afternoon tea so much. It’s an opportunity to share, talk about God and life, and reset our relationship.

Seven Sisters

To go away for a couple days to the seaside is about as lovely as it gets. The destination is the south coast, East Sussex to be precise. We picked up a little Motorhome yesterday and set off, looking for a spot to park the van next to the sea.

We managed to find an area where we could hear the sea.. and see it if we stretched a little. Beds were made and the first night started.

Unfortunately we woke up to nice British weather… rain..

But not to worry.. we packed up, had breakfast and coffee at McDonalds and set off to an area just west of Eastbourne, in the Southdown National park. I had heard a lot about that area, it has an area called ‘Beachy Head’ with a National Trust owned piece of Land. The sun made an appearance soon and the whole area just looked so pretty!

The coastline there is known for its white chalk cliffs, called Seven Sisters. A typical British view.

We decided to have a short cliff walk to see the famous lighthouse beneath the rock, but it was just so windy!

We soon set off to find a campsite for the night, not far from Eastbourne.. next to a pebble beach… shelling is one of our favourite activities, so off we went.. finding lovely different kinds of shells. It’s now fully sunny and it feels like holiday!

We are off, to make food and relax for the evening. Tomorrow is another day for new adventures. I like exploring! So don’t mind me :o)

Gold

Kintsugi is a Japanese art to repair broken pots with gold. Golden joinery, part of the history of the pot.

I love the thought that is behind it.. although there may be some personal interpretation in this.. that being broken does not mean it’s useless and should be thrown away. Instead the pieces are glued back together with gold, making it more precious and valuable in the process!

It appeals to me, to know that even though I feel broken sometimes, I can be made whole again with gold.

There is a verse in the Bible that speaks to me about this too: Job 23:10

But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I shall come out as gold.

None of us are spared trials, struggles and difficult situations. It is in those times however that we can rely on our God to purify us and make us whole again, if we trust Him with our heart and lives. What an incredible promise that is. Made valuable through golden joinery.

The words of a particular song (we are broken, by High Road. You can listen to it by copy/paste this YouTube link in your browser… https://youtu.be/r0XFrF6Mpj4 ) sum it up so well. Sometimes it takes a little thing to mend.. We are broken to become more beautiful, tried by fire, shine like gold. We are shattered to free the diamonds in our souls.

We are broken to be whole.

Just like the Japanese art form.. made whole by gold, more valuable than ever!