Saturday, 31 May 2014

#100HappyDays - Week 14 & 15



CHALLENGE



The Challenge

is to take a picture of something that makes you happy each day for 100 days and post it on facebook or twitter or google plus, etc.


I have chosen to put it on Facebook each day but also each Saturday I will do an update for the week on my blog.


I decided to combine last week and this week because there were only a few days this week to bring us to the end of the 100 days of Happiness.


I have to admit that somewhere around the 50 - 60 days I felt like this was going to be a really long time but then it seemed to go so very quickly toward the end.



Along the way there were several times when I thought how am I going to get a picture each day but really it was not a problem as there was always something in my (not extremely eventful) days that made me laugh, smile or just bring back a happy memory.

Laughing, smiling, reminiscing is good for us so I had 100 good days and I sort of miss it now.



90. SUNDAY

I am happy to know that God is Perfect even though I am not.







91. MONDAY

This is my phone screensaver which always makes me smile as I am a great Poirot fan.







92. TUESDAY

17 of us on a church bus trip but only 4 of us are mad enough to go in for a paddle and that water was really cold.





93. WEDNESDAY

One of my blog posts from last week was featured on another blog today at WholeHearted Wednesday.





94. THURSDAY

This made me smile as I always keep an eye out for sharks when we are at the coast  -  The movie JAWS has a lot to answer for.


Photo Credit:  United Christian Broadcasters.


95. FRIDAY

How lovely to come home tonight to this view from our driveway.







96. SATURDAY

It was rather appropriate to choose this graphic I made for another blog post as my pic for today because Fred leaves tomorrow morning for a week in Azerbaijan.






97. SUNDAY

This couple were very good to me today when I had trouble with my car.
My Pastor and his wife.






98. MONDAY

Chinese leftovers yummy!  Especially because it means I don't have to cook for just me.






99. TUESDAY

I was featured in another different blog today.







100. WEDNESDAY

What better way to finish off this challenge than by being happy with a group of friends from church while we help others less fortunate than ourselves.






I enjoyed the challenge and I am delighted that my daughter completed hers as well and we both finished with special pictures. 


I know she won't mind if I share her final picture here too.


Our family at our son Daniel's Wedding last year.



This challenge can be taken up at any time, so why not have a go and so how your attitude changes as you focus each day on something that makes you happy.       http://100happydays.com/



Friday, 30 May 2014

Do I need volunteers in my garage? - Housework / Funwork 21


There are times when we would far rather get stuck into someone else's sorting out than our own.


On Wednesday evening 8 of us from our church went off to help pack and stack boxes of food and household items to go on a container lorry to the border area between Romania and Hungary; for the people there who have no proper homes or jobs.

5 women sorted the items and packed the boxes and 3 men moved the boxes and stacked them ready for the shipment to go at the start of next week.  Another group had gone and done the same thing a few weeks earlier and this was now the finishing of the work.

We all volunteered to go to do this; we were not asked or persuaded to do it.

I even got a picture taken of the 8 of us at the end and look we are all still smiling and happy.




So why then can I not be motivated like this when it comes to my garage?

I think that companionship while working has a lot to do with it.

Our group joked together and simply had the company of each other while we worked.  As we drove there and back I had the company of a girl I have only met a few times before and didn't really know but now after chatting and laughing along the way we know each other better.

So obviously the answer for my garage then is to get a group from church 
to come help me sort it out.
Only joking!

No I had to be focused and determined and just get on with it even though Fred was away all week in Azerbaijan (it is amazing what I can learn to spell when I have to!).

In reality what I did was:
I set a timer for 30 mins and went out and tackled as much as I could during that time, then did it again later in the day and the same again on other days until it was done.
Sometimes I got quite a lot done in 30 mins and other times very little depending on what part I was at and a few times I stayed a bit longer because I wanted to get a certain thing finished.


We have two sets of shelves at the back of the garage and this is what I faced there



After several stints in the garage they now look like this



Now I know what is on the shelves and where each thing is and there is even a bit of free space!


At the front of the garage we have another set of shelves which looked as messed up as the back ones before I started and I thought I had taken a picture of them but must have forgotten to and you can't go back after you've done the tidying can you?


So here are the front shelves after they were sorted.





Along the wall between the back and front shelves we have a set of wardrobes which are now used as cupboard space




Obviously from the outside there really is no before and after of the wardrobes.  Inside is a different matter but because we still need to make a few extra shelves there is wasted space and still things on top of other things so this is an item for the Garage ToTo List.


So now the garage is sorted  





                     -   well as best it can be until we get some more shelves.



But I will admit that the inventory of the garage was not done.


as much as I love lists and inventories I just did not have the time for this one.


So we are at the end of another month and again most things for the month were done and I am not going to get too worried that I can't tick everything off the list this time because I am just thankful that I was able to do some of the work in the garage on my own while Fred was away.


I am also thankful that I was able to fit in a few extra things during the week too.

Are you thankful when you can get the housework done and still have your funwork with your friends like I did?



Linking up with  Metamorphosis Monday  

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Is Your JOY Full?












This post is written as part of a verse memorization challenge called 

               Verse by Verse


and organised by


Blogs by Christian Women



Every 1st & 3rd Monday of the month
 Blogs by Christian Women will post a new verse for memorization.  
They will then make a link-up live on the 2nd & 4th Friday of each month to give each person enough time to memorize, reflect on and write about the verse. 

The verse chosen this time is



John 16:24

Obviously this verse is about praying and receiving and Jesus had just previously been specifically talking to His disciples about a time when they would be sorrowful and He would not be with them.

I love that Jesus was saying something very personal between them but this should also be personal to us.

Up until then the disciples could ask Jesus any questiions they had but there was going to be a time when they would have to pray to God about everything. 

Jesus has power to answer all our prayers & grant us the desires of our hearts but He was not strutting His own importance here; instead He was showing how it is about us because He wants good for us.




So is our Joy Full?
Not - are you joyful?   But - IS YOUR JOY FULL?
He is talking about joy that only He can give us and that no-one else can take away from us v. 22



Do we hold back and not confide all to God? 
I don't think He wants us to have to stay in any sorrow because He has a great Joy for us.

We really do need to approach the Father as Jesus has instructed and receive what He is longing for us to have.



PRAYER
Dear Father, help us to come to you about everything, knowing that your will for us is to give us the best we can each possibly have because you know what we require to have full, overflowing, real joy that will touch the hearts of others as well.
In Jesus name, 
Amen.



PLEASE SEE the side bar for the LINK to this CHALLENGE Link-up.

Also linking this post to FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Distorted or Beautiful? - A Dose of Encouragement 22


Anyone who knows me personally or has read a lot of my blog posts will know that I absolutely adore my iPad
 (I wish they would pay me for saying that - I would be rich by now).

Also my family will know that I have far too many apps on my iPad (mostly free ones - I only get paid ones if I cannot find a free one which will do the job).

Well one of the apps I had downloaded one time ages ago was one to have a little fun with photos.  You loaded your photo into the app and then you could get a black and white sketch of a funny kind of outline of the photo.

I played with it once some time in 2012 and just used two photos that I found; quickly one of each of our boys many years ago when they were young. My husband had scanned some negatives and I had those pictures on the ipad so they were handy to use.

 (I can hear our daughter now saying "what about one of me?" 
- she always claims that being the third child was so unfair because we didn't take as many photographs of her as a baby as we did of the boys.)


These are the results of those two experiments








Faces stretched and pulled into strange shapes ending up with a kind of a caricature of each of the boys.  It provided me with a bit of a laugh and then shortly afterwards the pics were transferred to the computer and forgotten about.
In fact it took me quite a while to find them today.


Have you ever had a picture just pop into your mind?

Well you can probably imagine my surprise when suddenly these two pictures popped into my mind during a prayer meeting at church a few weeks ago.  I saw them clearly in my mind's eye and thought this was very strange.

Then God impressed a phrase on me

"I do not distort things I make them more beautiful"


Two of the words in that sentence really stood out to me.

"Distorted"  and  "more"

It was good enough, I felt, that God was telling me or reminding me that He does not distort things - that is the work of the devil.

And it was even better that He was reminding me that He makes things beautiful.

But the thing I felt that was being stressed was the fact that He makes things MORE beautiful.

Perhaps we need to take heed of Psalm 90:17


"Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us!" 


So can we sit back and just think for a little while today about how we as children of God are not distorted but are made more beautiful by God?

I'm thankful to have a God who can make things MORE beautiful.



Do you want to thank God that He makes us more beautiful than we can imagine?
I do.



Linking this post with FELLOWSHIP FRIDAYS



Tuesday, 27 May 2014

When Darkness Falls - Book Review


I love to snap up free ebooks if they look like they are something I will enjoy (especially murder mysteries).


So one day I saw this offer of an ebook in three parts and I downloaded it.


I only got round to reading it over Easter while I was travelling  because I had not got the Agatha Christie mystery that was next on my reading list already on my kindle.

The book is

       When Darkness Falls  
                       by  James Grippando


About the Author
JAMES GRIPPANDO is a best selling author of several books and lives in Florida, where he was a trial lawyer for 12 years.
Synopsis  from  Amazon.co.uk
In this novel from this bestselling author, lawyer Jack Swyteck tackles a case in which the life of his best friend hangs in the balance - and in which nothing is as it seems. A Miami criminal defense attorney, Swyteck isn't looking for a new client, at least not one who is homeless and in jail for threatening to jump off a bridge. But from the moment Jack is called to defend the man, who goes by the name Falcon, something is amiss. For one thing, Falcon comes up with the $10,000 bail - in cash. Then the body of a brutally murdered woman is found in the trunk of the abandoned car in which he is living. Panicked and on the run, Falcon takes Jack's best friend, Theo, hostage. They end up barricaded in a motel room, and Theo isn't the only one at Falcon's mercy. Jack must work with the cops and their crackerjack negotiator to free Theo and the other captives before Falcon decides he has nothing to lose by killing them all. What Jack doesn't know is that Falcon has a much bigger agenda, and that there are people behind the scenes who will stop at nothing to keep their dangerous secrets. Thus unfolds a riveting, lightning-paced story, as only James Grippando can tell it.



Publisher:  Harper Collins
Date Published:  Feb 2007
Series:  A Jack Swyteck novel


My Opinion

We are teased by attempted suicide, murder, a hostage situation and also trips back in time to another mystery.  A lawyer mixed up with a Homeless man, a man released from Death Row, a blind policeman, disappearing money and the daughter of a mayor definitely would seem to indicate a unique story and James Grippando has delivered a unique mystery here.

The action is quite fast paced in parts and well detailed but also slower when dealing with the individual characters who are important to the overall essence of the story.

Unfortunately I did feel that the male characters were better rounded than the female ones but I enjoyed the fact that there were some out of the ordinary characters.  I was able to deduce most of the mystery and would have been disappointed had I been able to deduce it all.  

This appears to be the 6th book based around the character of the Miami based lawyer and would definitely interest me in delving into another of the series if only to find out whether or not his best friend is also a leading character there.


If you have read any more of the Jack Swyteck books perhaps you would like to recommend another for me? 




Sunday, 25 May 2014

Why We Worship 21


I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"



God does not need anything that we humans need to be able to live.

He does not need air, food, water or sleep.

               He doesn't need help or advice.

                              He doesn't need money.

                                             He doesn't even need us.





Isn't it marvellous that even though God does not need us, 

He still wants to have us with Him.





Friday, 23 May 2014

With a Little bit of Help from my .... - Housework / Funwork 20


Okay just about keeping up with the normal daily and weekly tasks this week.


A few extra things have had to be scheduled in to our week as Fred will be going to Azerbaijan on Sunday for a week and then only home for 2 days and off again to Morocco for a week and a half.

Then I had to get to grips with the lawn mower again as I haven't had to cut the grass for the last 3 years but with extended and more frequent business trips for Fred I will be back behind that big heavy object.


Then it was back to the Garage.


In our garage we had "inherited" several tins of paint which had already been opened (the last people to own the house had simply left them there).

We also had a few containers with some wood stain and paint for the shed and it was definitely time to get rid of them.



So some time ago Fred drove off to our dump (local Amenities & Recycling site) to safely dispose of them because that is what we would have done when we lived in Londonderry in the NW of Northern Ireland and we just presumed that living in Banbridge in the SE of Northern Ireland would be the same.


At the dump he was told that he could not leave the tins there.  

So what was he to do with them?  

They told him he had to put them in a black plastic bin bag and then into our




black bin which is the ordinary house rubbish bin


as opposed to the 



green bin for paper, cardboard, glass, metal, plastic recycling

or the 

brown bin for the garden waste and food waste.




Now I thought that was ridiculous and so did Fred so I phoned the council recycling and asked them but got the same answer.  




Then this week I decided we should try again.


I phoned the council recycling and asked them but got the same answer as before.
The strange thing was the person I spoke to on the phone actually said that they considered paint to be hazardous material but all we could do was to put the tins in a black bin bag and put them in the black bin. 
When I said that I considered it to be hazardous material too but thought sending it to the landfill was not what we should be doing with hazardous material she hung up.


So while Fred then was on a trip to the dump with all our grass cuttings which was too much for the brown bin, I decided to phone one of our political parties office in the town because it was coming up to election time anyway and they might as well be expected to help us.  The girl who took my call thought there should be somewhere at the dump for the paint but I explained not so she said she would try to find out.  


She rang me back shortly and she had talked with the council recycling and been told the same as me PLUS a bit extra.  

Apparently there are companies you could pay to come take this type of waste away but mostly used by businesses and she had a number for me to ring but it might be expensive.


On ringing this company I was told to just go to the dump as they had collection areas in the dumps for paint but then I explained my dump didn't and when this lady checked she found out that my dump was one of a few that did not have a contract with their company.  She then told me where the next nearest dump was that I could leave the paint at.

So this week we had to drive for 30 mins to get to the dump to safely dispose of the paint.

You seriously would not think that to clear up a small section of our garage would have taken several phone calls and a round trip of over an hour.

That kind of thing does not make me smile.



That kind of thing does not make me happy nor does it make my husband happy when he has to visit two dumps instead of one and one of them is so far away.




So how could my 
Housework be going to turn into Funwork 
this week?


1.  Well mostly because while I took Tuesday out and went on a church bus trip and had lots of laughs; Fred did some of the usual daily chores for me that day.

2.  Fred also helped me by giving me some of his time on 2 different days to help me move things around and decide what had to stay & what could go in the garage this week even though he was getting ready to go on that business trip.








Have you tried making your Housework turn into Funwork yet?

Or got anyone to help you?





Wednesday, 21 May 2014

What a difference a Sneeze Makes - A Dose of Encouragement 21


                  
               I love a good sneeze, don’t you?  

I quite enjoy two or three sneezes at a time but when you have to sit beside someone who sneezes not just once, or twice or three times in a row but ten or twelve times it can put you off sneezes for life. 

When I was a teenager I was at a computer course with a range of students from other schools (yes those were the days before all schools had IT on the curriculum).  How well I remember the first afternoon on that course when the guy sitting beside me started to sneeze and sneeze and sneeze.  Everyone turned round at different times to see who was sneezing and at one stage the teacher stopped talking to stare in our direction.




Later in the church I attended for many years there was this guy who once he started to sneeze seemed like he wasn't going to stop and everyone would start saying 



      but would then get fed up after 3 or 4 times.


Everywhere I went this guy would be sneezing and people would always think he was coming down with a cold or flu or something worse and often he would get such bad looks from people.




Well, I suppose I'll have to admit that I was in lots of the same places as this guy because this was the guy that I fell in love with all those years ago (even with the sneezing power and volume).  

This is the guy I have been married to for almost 37 years and he still has a powerful sneeze and yes will still sneeze lots of times in a row.


I can recognise Fred's sneeze anywhere.  


And this sneeze has helped me out on several occasions.


Many times when we lived in America and would be in those really, really large supermarkets Fred would wander off to look at some of the things that interested him more than regular shopping did.
Then when I would be finished shopping and I was getting tired and just wanted to get through the checkout and go home I would not have a clue where he was. 

That's when his sneeze was a beautiful sound to my ear.

He would sneeze and I would hone in on his location, waiting of course until he was finished sneezing before I would actually join him because I'd rather avoid the stares and in some cases pitying looks of the people nearby.



Now you are probably thinking 


               "that's ok he's her husband, she's with Him all the time so of course she'll know the sound of him" 


and yes that is my point


I know my husband really well and the rest of my family really well.

You will know your family really well too!


BUT


Can we recognise the Holy Spirit's prompting anywhere?   anytime?

Do we know the Holy Spirit well enough to know how He works through each of us personally?



I know my husband well enough because I have known him for many years and because I spend a lot of time with him.


So when he sneezes 


I know from experience that he hasn't got those
 allergies that people will be absolutely certain he must have because he sneezed a lot in their presence.





I know the difference between the way he has always been or whether he is taking the flu.




I don't have to think twice or pose the question to myself "is that Fred or not?"


That is exactly how we should be about the Holy Spirit.

Even just recently I have found myself sitting thinking yet again
" is this the Holy Spirit talking to me or not?"

After all this time I should be more honed in to the way He talks to me, to the way He impresses things on my mind, to the sudden bits of information He gives me.
Yet still many times I will hesitate to step out and do what He wants me to do.

We shouldn't have to take time to ponder and try to work out if the Holy Spirit is speaking to us or encouraging us to so something because we should recognize His way of working in us.

How?

Well just what we do with our husbands and families.

Love them, 
spend time with them, 
be prepared to listen to them and not do all the talking ourselves.

No one can know your family better than you through all the years so in the same way no one is going to be able to tell you when the Holy Spirit is prompting you, only you can.


And if we can manage in our family where we all like to talk and butt in and add our piece to the conversation, then you can too.





Sunday, 18 May 2014

Why We Worship 20


I am taking time each week to ask myself "Why we worship"


Have you ever thought about how thankful we should be that God is not like us?

Have you ever thought about how we are meant to become like Him and not the other way round?

I am so glad that He is not to become like us because we are flawed.

God is not flawed because 







Just think about that, 

                       that means


there is not one thing wrong with our God.








Linking up with