Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Underground socks


Finally I have something finished to show off.  These are plain "vanilla" socks in brilliant yarn from an etsy shop, called Trailing Clouds, not currently trading alas see below, dyed in the colours of the London Underground lines.  I love their bright cheeriness and the dyeing is amazing.  It must take a lot of work to get all those different stripes into the yarn and to create such neat transitions from one stripe to the next, neater than many commercially produced yarns manage.  I do hope the dyer will start work again soon, her yarn is incredible.  The base is British Blue Faced Leicester (with some nylon for strength), which makes it even better.


Bright yellow socks next I think.

Stop Press: Since posting I have found out that the yarn dyer is now selling at and that she has a blog at Trailing Clouds of Gloria where she pre-releases pictures of the colours she is selling.  I will be watching out for updates (despite the fact that I do not need more sock yarn - if I keep telling myself that the truth of it might sink in sometime).

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Speaking out

For a while now I have been praying that as a church we would be more vocal and speak up for the poor and the dispossessed and those without anyone to speak up for them and now we seem to have a church leader who is doing just that.  The new Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, seems determined not to keep quiet and to say when something is wrong, to call something exactly what it is, even if it causes him subsequent embarrassment. As a consequence both the media and ordinary people seem to have taken some notice of the church and what it is doing and its purpose for the first time in ages and in the main it is a positive response.

Generally on this blog I do try not to be political because this is not a political blog and because I find politics so extremely stressful and hard to cope with, however, I thought this was worth a mention.  We may be living through difficult and nasty times for many, but perhaps it is also an opportunity for the church to get up and speak out for people and to show care and concern for people in need and by doing so to demonstrate Jesus's love.

Archbishop Justin (calling him that does sound most familiar, I'm sure they would have had none of it in good old Barchester), spoke recently at one of those Christian Glastonbury's, New Wine and his talk is on his website and I cannot recommend it enough.  It is an excellent use for a half hour and it left me feeling inspired and encouraged and challenged all at once.

(picture from Lambeth Palace's flickr account)

I shall continue to pray for the church and for our new Archbishop, that we could be real and relevant and bring love and hope to this country and to the world.  Let us set out, one prayer at a time.

He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?  Micah 6.8 

P.S. If you want to hear some more of what the Archbishop has to say this video interview is also very interesting, though quite why anyone thought they needed dry ice behind them is beyond me!

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

On fear

Although I have heard the promises such as “if our God is for us, who can be against us” and others of its ilk, I still find the world a terrifying place.  I feel plagued by fear, surrounded by it, caught up in it.  The thought of the long-term future fills me with such panic, of course we do not know what will happen, but sometimes we need to take decisions or do some sort of planning for the future and I find it almost unbearable.

I have improved over time, I can now think beyond the next minute, beyond the next hour, beyond the next week, sometimes even beyond the next month or months without being gripped by terror, slowly I have regained the future.  But I still feel as though I am surviving, not living and at present I am wrestling with how to live, how my future should look, what I should do with what I have and what I do not have.  It is an unsettling process, stirring me up inside, a hard process after such a long time of simply not wanting to be alive.  I am trying to accept life.

The worst thing about the fear is the feeling that I have failed God, my loving Father, He has said time and time again “Do not fear, do not be afraid”, and yet... somehow I cannot trust Him.  I feel ashamed and hate my lack of trust and faith, my failure to obey, to believe that He is sovereign and knows my future (Psalm 139) and that He will never leave me (Hebrews 13).

In the light of this failure I find the prayer in Mark 9.24 a help and a heart's cry, “I believe; help my unbelief!”.  God is gracious and there have been times in the middle of the terror and panic when He has been so close and has calmed me, at least my fear keeps me coming to Him for help.

Lord, I believe, help my unbelief.  Forgive my lack of trust and help my trust in you to grow as I come to you in the storms.  Be with me, strengthen my feeble knees and weak hands, be with me in the fear and help me to overcome.  Be with those who also fear.  Amen

"Jesus said... “Do not fear, only believe,” Mark 5.36

Monday, 22 July 2013

An unexpected treat

This morning has brought an unexpected treat from a generous neighbour of a gorgeous bunch of sweet peas and a vegetable marrow.  The sweet peas have an intoxicating, powerful scent, utterly gorgeous.  I am so grateful for my lovely neighbours.


Now to look up marrow recipes!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Musical Interlude

Following various recent conversations with friends I have realised that by listening almost exclusively to Christian music, as it helps my mental health, I have gained knowledge about bands that others have not heard of, so I thought I would write a few blog posts about some of my favourite bands or musicians.

And so we start with the band who came to mind immediately when thinking about this and the band to whom I have recently introduced various people from my church: Rend Collective Experiment.

They are a band from Northern Ireland whose music is largely folk inspired, but who use a wide range of instruments and styles for their songs.  They have a refreshing originality and energy and get away from the "cheesy" reputation that so often haunts Christian music.  In their music there is a real mixture of tempos and volumes, traditional hymns and original songs, around the theme of discipleship and church.  As they themselves acknowledge, folk music is accessible, anyone can join in by tapping their foot or singing along or clapping their hands and that makes it brilliant music for the church, and an echo of the church being an inclusive place that anyone can join.  But they put it better themselves:

I discovered them on Spotify and have loved their music ever since the first few chords of the first song of their first album, Come on my Soul, it is a simple song, calling us to worship, reminding us to look up from ourselves to Jesus and God our Father.  I love the video they made for this song too, the gathering of the church around the light.

Meanwhile the song that has become their anthem is Build Your Kingdom Here.  It is the most phenomenal prayer and a bold vision and I pray it regularly as I walk through my local town centre.  The chorus speaks for itself:
Build your kingdom here
Let the darkness fear
Show your mighty hand
Heal our streets and land
Set your church on fire
Win this nation back
Change the atmosphere
Build your kingdom here
We pray

They have so many other awesome songs, including a fantastic, intimate version of Love Divine All Loves Excelling and Second Chance, a song which gives me so much hope when I fail.  I admit that their albums are generally on my ipod on repeat and I never tire of them.  Go have a listen and may God use this music to bless you.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


A couple of days ago I took this photograph of some of the roses in the garden, attracted by the beauty of the tightly furled buds, their creamy yellow tinged with pink.


Yesterday afternoon I photographed the same roses again, as the roses gradually unfurled and the blush of pink began to fade.


And this morning they have progressed further still to a mass of flowers.  I am not greatly enamoured of the roses one gets in vases, with small flowers on long straight stems, but I adore roses in a garden, growing in a glorious profusion of blooms.


Despite the lack of sunshine the bees are having a good time, carefully climbing in and out of the snapdragons , whose nectar must be good for the amount of effort involved in parting the "mouth" of the flower and climbing in and then out again and rifling through the heavy bloom of a many petalled poppy.  Many of them are bumbling around the hebe hedge at the front in drunken delight.

The garden and its inhabitants are such a source of delight and refreshment, even on a comparatively cold, grey day as today.  Rest assured I am still knitting, gearing up for the current baby boom, I have finished one baby vest and started yesterday on another and have a fresh pair of bootees on the go to fill in odd moments.