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  

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Distorted or Beautiful? - A Dose of Encouragement

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

Now this only shows the first part of the verse but I think it is important that we also consider the next part

And establish the work of our hands for us;
Yes, establish the work of our hands.

God is not making us beautiful so that we can bask in our beauty, He is making us beautiful so that we can work for Him.

With the beauty of God upon us we will be more like Him in all ways filling us with His Holy Spirit and bringing forth the Fruit of the Spirit in our lives.  Our minds, attitudes and feelings will be more aligned to God's and ultimately this will help us to reach others for Him

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.

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

When Darkness Falls - Book Review

There is an affiliate link on this blogpost.

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
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? 

If buying through Amazon via the link above I get a little commission but that does not mean any extra expense to you.

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, 

This verse above comes from the passage of Scripture where the Apostle Paul speaks to the people in Athens on Mars Hill.

Verses 22 - 31  cover it more fully.

22 So Paul, standing in the midst of the Areopagus, said: “Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. 
23 For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription: ‘To the unknown god.’ What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. 
24 The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man,
25 nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. 
26 And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, 
27 that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, 
28 for
“‘In him we live and move and have our being’;
as even some of your own poets have said,
“‘For we are indeed his offspring.’
29 Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man. 
30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 
31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”

Paul was explaining that God doesn't need people to do things for Him, He has no need of anything but instead is the reason we all exist.  He cannot be imagined by us,  or completely understood by us however He has determined that He loves us and wants us to come through repentance of our sins to Him.  
God can do everything He needs or wants to do, through His knowledge and wisdom He is in control of all things.   
He lacks nothing.

When we know that God is Self-Sufficient and doesn't need us we can be encouraged because this shows us that He really cares for us.
When we know that God is self-Sufficient and hence is everything He needs to be we can also be encouraged because if he doesn't have to depend on anything or anyone then He truly is the only one we can put our full trust in.

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

               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!


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.


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.

No matter what we do we will never be perfect as only God is perfect so we know that the verse above does not mean just exactly as it sounds.

However God does want something from us.

The previous few verses in that chapter of the Gospel of Matthew will help us.

43 Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy.
44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.
46 For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same?
47 And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so?
48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

We are to do the things that are more unnatural for humans to do.

We are to show the love and goodness of God to others by being different to the norm in this world.

We are to have a different attitude toward others because God has instructed us to be like Him.

We are to walk in the ways of God.

I am thankful that God is Perfect because this means we can fully trust Him?