Wednesday, 24 July 2013
It sometimes feels like everyone is getting married and settling down. It seems like getting married is the big grown up step to take in life. Even though marriage isn't as highly regarded as it once was there are still plenty of people either marrying or doing the more modern equivalent and living with a partner. Living in sin as my Grandma says!
Sometimes I wonder about God's plan for me and question and push and generally stomp my feet and demand my own way like a fractious toddler! I would love a road sign or two just to show that I am on the right track as it is easy to feel like life is rushing on and on and I am standing still. I have to be careful as I know that, if I let it get hold, then these sinful thoughts will embed themselves into my mind. Negative influences can come in many forms. Some are so obvious and easy to avoid but others, the dangerous ones, are more subtle and insidious. The romance novels where the man and woman are so unhappy while single and gloriously happy once married and where the book ends with everyone neatly paired up. What do I want to give most influence from? A fluffy Christian romance novel or God's own word in the Bible?
I always assumed that I would get married. I wasn't one of those girls who dreamt about a big white dress or picked out flowers for the bridal bouquet but there was always this vague idea that marriage would happen. The older I get though the more I feel that marriage isn't God's plan for me. Of course, I can't be sure of this! I just don't feel dread imagining a future without marriage. There is a certain contentment from just trusting in God!
Marriage is a gift from God but so is singleness! Singleness sometimes has such negative ideas surrounding it. Mostly in the minds of other people! An older single must be desperate to get married, must be feeling left behind, and must be waiting to finally get on with their proper role. It hurts sometimes that people make little comments about waiting and being left on the shelf as though being single means that I am somehow deficient or lacking or not doing God's will. It is perfectly possible to a productive Christian without being married. If anything I have more time and energy to devote to God. Not just studying His Word but also putting this into action in my life.
Singleness can be a blessing whether it is a temporary situation or a permanent situation. God places us exactly where He wants us and we get the opportunity to grow and learn from the situation we find ourselves in. Well we do if we open our eyes and look around!
Some find it strange that I love all the home making tasks and yet may never have a family of my own. I get comments about it being pointless. As far as I know single people still eat, clean, have gardens, and have clothes that need mending! Learning a new skill is never pointless. I know that knitting is teaching me patience far faster than anything else!
God is using this season of my life to draw me closer to Him. To teach me to turn to Him first and to look to His will. Whether this season lasts a few years or the rest of my life there is joy, contentment, and peace to be found in trusting God completely.
Monday, 22 July 2013
A bit of a random post today! It has been unusually hot here these past few weeks. Far too hot for me! I love the weather in Spring and Autumn as the Summer is generally a bit too warm for me. I love seeing the blue skies and flowers blooming but I long for the cool breezes and even miss the clouds!
I really need to start thinking about Christmas. Early I know! It has been far too hot to give it a great deal of thought but I am planning on cross stitching some pretty Christmas ornaments. I am so slow at stitching though that I probably should have started already! Plus the Christmas letters to my sponsored children need to be sent off in September!
I have been watching television a lot less! No more random scrolling through the television channels looking for something, anything to watch. I did watch Love's Unending Legacy as I love the books! I really like the adaptations and they are so sweet and stick to the story pretty well. I have also watched two lovely DVDs over the weekend! Both are produced by Moore Family Films and they were so fascinating to watch. One featured the Moss family and the other followed the Moody family. It was just amazing to see an insiders view of how two Christian families work. Families that pray together and where the siblings really are best friends. The interviews with the parents were inspiring and the children were just adorable!
This weekend has been a bit of a letter writing weekend! I had a few letters to write to my pen pals and sponsored children and had also had some photographs printed which arrived last week. I wanted to get them sent off straight away as it would be far too easy to put it off and then a whole month passes by! With home and work both being so very busy lately things have slipped a little with my writing but I was determined to catch up this weekend and I did!
One of the photographs that I sent off! I tend to be very camera shy .... you can probably tell from the lack of photographs of me on this blog. Even this picture has most of my face covered up!
Sunday, 21 July 2013
So excited to introduce Vivian to you as well as Plant a Book which is the charity that I sponsor her through! Vivian is 7 years old and is an orphan. She lives with her aunt and two younger cousins. She has the sweetest smile! She likes skipping rope and wants to be a teacher when she grows up!
Plant a Book is a sponsorship charity on a much smaller scale than, say, Compassion or World Vision, and provides support for the children attending Galilee Primary School and Waddington High School in the Kayole-Soweto slums of Nairobi in Kenya.
You can choose a child to sponsor from the website and you get to write to them and the child will write back 3 times a year. You also get an annual photograph!
Another difference between Plant a Book and the bigger charities is the price of sponsorship. It costs just $12.50 (approximately £9.00) a month to sponsor a Primary School child. It is also $12.50 a month to sponsor a Secondary School child on the basic programme and $20.00 per month for the lunch included programme.
There is also an on line shop which is open during term time. Now this is exciting! You can buy your child a uniform or books or clothes through this site. You make your order on line and then a member of staff at the school buys the items in Kenya and gives them to your child. So, it is easier, you don't have to pay postage, there is no customs charge, and you are helping the local economy! You also receive a photograph of your child with the gift you send via this on line shop!
You can post gifts direct to the school if you see something special that you know your child will love! As it is a small charity it is really helpful to them if you make a donation towards the customs charge that the school will have to pay to collect the package. I am going to send Vivian a doll!
Isn't she adorable?
Thursday, 18 July 2013
Thou shalt love. The duty of loving - there is nothing of that in the codes of abstract duty. It is impossible to exclude that from its fundamental place in the system of duty whose constant spring is in the fatherhood of God .... Of this quality in duty it is no Christian's place to be ashamed or afraid. None of us may melt it away or sink it out of sight. In its prominence lies the soul of the duty that we do. We may not try to make that duty cold and soulless which has its true being in the central commandment which is its living soul - "Thou shalt love."
Tuesday, 16 July 2013
Introducing my third Compassion child! Well, I say child ..... he is 19! He lives in India with his parents and there are 4 children in the family. His hobbies include walking, reading, singing, and story telling! His home duties include things like running errands, taking care of the animals, carrying water, and selling in the market. Wow - with all that plus school I don't suppose that he gets much time for his hobbies! Rupesh lives in East India in a community where most adults are unemployed and the average wage is just £9.00 a month. That is shockingly low!
I never imagined myself sponsoring an older teen boy. Sponsoring and writing to girls just seemed a lot easier. I can relate to them in a way! God had other plans! He eased me into sponsorship with my two little girls, Jeni and Loani, then took it a step further with baby Joseph, and then challenged me to step way out of my comfort zone with Rupesh. Rupesh was the oldest boy on the Compassion UK site and I just prayed and prayed. I was scared that I would sponsor him and then not be able to relate to him or to encourage him! I knew that I was supposed to sponsor him especially as, when the UK site went down for a couple of days, I was in a total panic! Luckily the site came back on line and I clicked sponsor.
The other Compassion sponsors speak so highly of their older boys and have offered me all sorts of good advice about letter topics and little paper gifts to send. Plus it will be interesting to be able to send things written in English!
I got lucky again! Compassion had some previous photographs of Rupesh. Here he is in 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2013. So interesting to see him growing up in the photographs!
Saturday, 13 July 2013
Mixed news on the gardening front! Most things seem to be a bit behind schedule but that is probably due to the odd weather this year. I love pottering around the garden especially as it has been so sunny this week. Plus the honeysuckle at the end of the garden has such a beautiful scent and really adds to the pleasure of garden pottering!
No tomatoes yet on any of the plants as the first batch of plants were eaten by sparrows. Put us a little behind schedule! Lots of flowers though!
The salad plot! Lots of lettuce, spinach, and even some chard. Plus there is a row of carrots too. Yum!
Tomato plants with runner beans behind. There are up turned plastic bottles in the plot too. You cut the bottom off a plastic bottle, remove the lid, and "plant" in the garden. Then just fill with water every now and then!
I tried to grow some of the exotic seeds from the James Wong range and the tomatillo plants are the only ones to survive! The others fell to either the weather or the hoard of rampaging sparrows!
My potato tree! It is huge and has flowers on at the moment so the potatoes should be ready soon. I just planted a random potato from the pantry so I don't know exactly when I should be digging them up!
Flowers on my broad bean plant! My pea plant flowers have been pecked off by birds so my final hopes rest on these beans!
Last but not least ..... apples! I was so surprised to have any apples at all this year as it is only the second year that I have had these trees. It would be amazing if they ripen though!
How is your garden progressing?
Posted by Jenny at 09:37
Wednesday, 10 July 2013
Some new books to read! I have a constantly updating wishlist of books and an ever growing pile to read! A bit of a split theme this month. Four books by two authors!
Two of the books are by Leslie Ludy and I heard about them on her website. I like her style of writing. It is friendly and not preachy! I am looking forward to reading both of these. The Lost Art of True Beauty looks fascinating and is about the difference between worldly standards of beauty and what God intended for us. I ordered Sacred Singleness on a whim! Most books for singles seem to be all about getting a husband and they don't really cover what happens when marriage isn't in God's Plan for you. It has testimonials from real singles so I am looking forward to reading it.
The other two books are by Amy Carmichael. I have been fascinated by people that have devoted their lives to missionary work lately so these two jumped to the top of my wish list. God's Missionary is a tiny book with just 60 pages. It is about following Jesus and being a disciple! I have flicked through it and it looks like the lessons can be applied to missions both at home and abroad. Now, Things As They Are looked so interesting to me! Amy Carmichael lived as a missionary and spent over 50 years in India so she is well equipped to write a book about the realities of life there. Not the rose tinted view! I want to know the reality and the struggles and not just the sanitised version of what life as a missionary was like.
I am not sure if I will get them all finished in July as I still have a couple of other books that I am part way through. I never have just one book on the go at once!
What are you reading?
Sunday, 7 July 2013
Sponsoring with Compassion has opened up new opportunities to help others! First I learnt about Love Mercy Uganda and now I have been reading up about Kiva. It is amazing that God has opened my heart so much and then presented these opportunities!
Kiva says "We are a non-profit organization with a mission to connect people through lending to alleviate poverty. Kiva lets individuals lend as little as $25 to help create opportunity around the world." That is what was really interesting to me. Donating my £20 on my own won't do much but linking with maybe 10 or 20 other people gives us the power needed to change the life of a person fighting their way out of poverty.
I see it as helping someone achieve their dream! They are ready to work hard and put the hours into their business but they need that extra help to get started. There are so many projects on the site from help buying goods to start up a shop, to taxi repairs, to scholarship help, and even buying a bee colony! You can search by country as well as by type of project. It is so interesting to read a little about the person requesting a loan.
I love this because sometimes I have a little extra money that I want to use for a good cause but it isn't a steady amount that would be required for a child sponsorship. With Kiva I can give a loan $25 (about £20) whenever I have that spare. It isn't a long term monthly commitment and I know that a lot of people just can't afford to sponsor a child for 10 or more years. This is a lot more short term than that!
You make your loan to one of the financial partners who support Kiva. In a way you are giving these partners the ability to make future loans and to help more people and, as the loans have already been given out, people don't have to wait ages and ages to get a loan! You can check up on the loans that you have made and you get updates as the repayments are made. The repayments are yours but, of course, you are free to lend again and help someone else!
Now this is something amazing! This link is an invite from me to you. It lets you give a loan of $25 to a Kiva project of your choice at no cost to you at all! I hope that you take this chance to help someone achieve their dream!
Kiva - Loans that change lives.
Friday, 5 July 2013
It really does! I expected to have a sort of gradual mindset change but this was dramatic and pretty much instant. It sounds like such a cliché but my eyes were opened to just how much we have here. Really everything is set up to create a life of ease. We may work hard at home or in our jobs but we have water just from turning a tap and light from flicking a switch.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
Hebrews 13 : 16
I am looking around my room and (apart from a few sentimental that I treasure and that mean a lot to me) it is all starting to look like clutter. I just don't see the point of it! It isn't doing any good to anyone. It is pretty but it doesn't really matter to me. I have a beautiful crystal bowl and vase that belonged to my Gran that I love because she loved crystal and saved up to buy it. They remind me of her and yet they don't stand out as they are surrounded and overpowered by meaningless stuff. My treasures have a story to them or they remind me of someone special but their worth is diluted when they are hidden behind tat and dust collectors.
She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy.
Proverbs 31 : 20
On the Compassion website there are descriptions for each child but also information on the area that they live in. It explains what the common jobs are, the food that is eaten, the illnesses that afflict there, and the average wage per month. Some are shockingly low! There are people out there working for the equivalent of maybe £3 or £4 per month. And that is those lucky enough to have jobs! For example, where Loani lives in Honduras the average monthly wage is £100. A pair of shoes would cost around £20. A fifth of the monthly income on a pair of shoes! There are 5 children in Loani's family and shoes wouldn't be at the top of the list of priorities. How many pairs of shoes do you have? I have more than I need!
This is what matters to me. This is real.
Sponsoring makes poverty so personal. You know the name of a child living in poverty. You learn about them and their family. Their favourite colour and what they want to be when they grow up. They are more than a figure or a statistic. God prepared my heart for this and waited until I was ready to hear about those that suffer. I knew that poverty existed but it was abstract to me. As a family, we had times where we had little money but that is nothing compared to the poverty that some people live in each and every day of their lives.
I saw their suffering and need and could not turn from them. Will you look away?
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him?
1 John 3 : 17
Monday, 1 July 2013
Time for another giveaway! Super excited about this one and I hope you like the prizes. I had fun picking them out!
Included in the giveaway:
Make! by Cath Kidston.
An apron pattern by McCalls.
Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis.
2 bookmarks from King's Blooming Rose.
A fabric clasp purse with a Union Jack.
This is the Cath Kidston Make! book. There are 30 projects in here along with 16 Cath Kidston templates! Plus a tote bag kit as well! There are clothing projects, gift projects, and projects for children. All in all a very cute book!
Now this book is a life changer! It is an absolutely fascinating book covering the life of Katie Davis thus far. I am holding out hope for a sequel! You will not be able to put it down. It is amazing to read her story and it makes you think about the choices you make each and every day. I am reading it again in light of my darling sponsor child in Uganda and it is inspiring and moving and humbling me all over again.
Ways to enter this giveaway.
1, Become a follower of this blog (which ever method you prefer!) or be an existing follower.
2, Like the Facebook page here.
Each person can enter twice. Please leave a separate comment for each way that you choose to enter!
This giveaway is open to people worldwide and I will pick a random comment as the winner and then announce it in a blog post!
The giveaway is open from 1st July 2013 to 31st July 2013.
Any queries or questions let me know by email! Please share this giveaway!