Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Spring, sparrows and shoes

You know how sometimes in life you think that you've begun to get something sorted out, you're doing better at it, then something comes along to prove to you that actually you aren't as sorted as you'd like to think? Something along the lines of "pride comes before a fall". That's happened to me over the past couple of weeks; just as I start to think that maybe I'm not so bad at this coping thing and at surviving feeling awful day after day, I feel worse than normal and struggle to cope at all. It's not been the best couple of weeks ever, I've had a nasty infection and it's taken it out of me recovering, lots of days of exhaustion and pain and feeling miserable and bored. And days of feeling so tense I cannot relax or get comfortable anywhere or sleep properly. I wish I could say I had borne it all with cheerful stoicism or beautiful and gently inspiring patience, but in reality I am all too human when it comes to these times. There have been tears, grumps, snapping, yelling at God, saying sorry to God quite a lot, misery, self pity and rather a lot of headaches. Thankfully God is very forgiving and understands me better than I do and loves me a very great deal and I am trying to lean on Him and just be with Him and rest and relax.

Hopefully things are looking up now though and it has not all been bad, for a start God is good and loves me a very great deal. For another there are small stirrings that spring is beginning - or to quote an ancient joke from I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again "spring has sprung *boing* [sound effect]". We have miniature daffodils open in a couple of the tubs on the doorstep, crocuses, cyclamen, primroses and miniature irises flowering in the gardens front and back and in various tubs and window boxes. Dad regards them with great pride and is forever calling my attention to the progress of this or that plant.

Meanwhile the birds are keeping things in the garden lively, a constant stream of blue, coal and great tits haunt the feeders, robins sing their hearts out and a pair of blackbirds scavenge on the ground getting rich pickings from under the feeders where food has been dropped. It is amazing to watch the way the birds learn means of finding food from one another - the g
reat tits have been hopping around on the ground picking over the leaves for food and systematically turning them over in just the way the blackbirds do. When they find something they differ from the blackbirds though, in that they pick up the entire leaf, take it to a branch and hold it in their feet, as they usually do with a titbit that needs a bit more work, and peck away at the food on the leaf, finally letting it drop when they are done.

God has answered a very small prayer to do with the birds this week; it's going to sound a little silly that I was praying about this, but anyhow... We have not had any sparrows in the garden for a bit, despite having one here for much of the winter, so I was praying that they would return and on Monday morning, after a horrible weekend, I opened the curtains just as two sparrows flew onto our back fence! They stopped there for a moment before one dropped down to the ground to peck about and they were around for much of the day. It was such a lovely, beautiful encouragement and precious reminder that He does answer prayer and that He can make things happen and bring change in this sad, broken world. Small but exquisite - as I was reading recently in Luke

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? Yet not one of them is forgotten by God. Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows. Luke 12.6-7
Such are the things that life is made of, the big, the small, the painful and the beautiful.
One last small excitement has been my new shoes, from Cath Kidston - with stars on! I'm not normally a shoe person, in fact I generally hate buying them, but these have stars on, it makes all the difference. Seen here modelled with my latest pair of socks - Duckies, in Trekking 6ply (for those who take an interest in these matters) I would recommend both pattern and yarn.

I hope you all enjoy the unfolding spring.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

A granny a day

Helps develop my crochet skills, makes use of bits and pieces from my yarn stash and helps people in Australia who have lost everything in the recent natural disasters: full of win all round. The crochet squares are for crochet designer Sarah London's Crochet a Rainbow project and I urge you if you can to join in with this fun and helpful initiative. Even if you cannot yet crochet it is not that hard to learn (if I can learn you can too!), very relaxing and useful, a great way to play with colour, as much of Sarah London's work shows.

I have pledged myself to make one square a day this month as my charity project for the month. As my stamina for crochet still runs out fairly fast - I've done comparatively little of it and it uses different movements to my usual knitting - I am sticking to the one a day to save doing myself an injury, already it's getting easier to do. To avoid having to sew in hundreds of ends when changing colours I am using Lucy from Attic 24's handy tutorial on crocheting the ends in as you go, which I highly recommend, it's not at all difficult.

So far my squares look rather Christmassy in colour, tomorrow I think I'll dig out some more colours and go for a bit more variety. Get crocheting and bring some more colour into the world!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

An inauspicious start to February

Today I reached the point in the crash from going out for dinner on Saturday night with some church friends where I was wishing I'd not gone. At the time I did enjoy myself and was pleased I'd overcome the anxiety about it sufficiently to go, though the meal went on for longer than I expected and involved all the usual stressors like noise and uncomfortable chairs. Now I'm utterly fed up, with it always being the same story, with always having to pay so heavily for so little fun, with myself for letting it get me down, with the world for there being so little sympathy or kindness in it, with myself again for feeling sorry for myself... I could go on, but I won't bore us all to tears.

To compound matters I got stressed about a discussion I was having with some others about sickness, work and whether one should just "tough it out" or stop. It's an area in which I am incredibly sensitive; I loathe that I can't work, I feel guilty about it, all the things I wanted to achieve that are not happening and that may never happen. I tried the "toughing it out" or "pushing myself" approach and did myself terrible damage. So getting into a discussion on the topic on a day when I already felt awful and low, was not the wisest decision. Getting into this discussion on-line, where all nuance of voice, expression and body language - was an even worse decision. Naturally being very physically stressed and unable to relax lead to the inevitable migraine. Mercifully the migraine tablet (once located, in the waste paper basket, to which I had consigned the box thinking it was the empty one), worked its miracle and I feel largely better except for the usual weird aching joints that accompanies them.

So what to learn from this catalogue of misadventure? Not to get into argumentative discussions because I simply do not have the strength to deal with them. To try not to be so over sensitive to every nuance of what someone is saying. That everyone is different, every situation is different, therefore what is right for one person is not necessarily right for another. That I still have a lot of things I need to straighten out. That no person is utterly reliable and that Jesus is still very much the one to turn to and cling to and trust. All the storms of this life seem to blow me in His direction, thankfully. Therefore repentance and receiving His forgiveness, love and understanding awaits and I'll try to learn from my mistakes.

Phew, quite a lot of moaning there, sorry. Got to "talk" to someone though and it has helped getting my thoughts in some sort of order and out of my head, instead of buzzing around inside. I'm going to listen to Ed Reardon's Week now, his curmudgeonly grumpiness will be just right to help me relax before bed!