With the season of Advent fast approaching I thought I’d share some resources that I’ve found on my cyber travels. As I’m quite Ignatian focussed at the moment here is a link to some lovely online Ignatian resources that might help you on your way through the exciting season ahead…
Not everyone has the time or money to spend searching for, ordering and taking delivery of an Advent devotional so sometimes the internet CAN [despite what I often think ] be a place to find God, rather than a constant distraction keeping us [me?] from Him.
Also, a fellow blogger over on ‘The Vicar’s Wife’ has produced a great post highlighting some other fabulous free resources; ‘Advent Approaches: A Couple of Reading Resources’. I can vouch for both of these as I’ve already downloaded them and had a read. Ethan and I have put the ‘Children’s Bible Reading Plan’ to good use this evening. It’s actually great for all year round, not just Advent. Pertinently, the 12 month, single use plan starts with the Nativity story in Luke’s Gospel, so very appropriate if you want to start this with your little ones now.
And finally, I’ve also found THIS for all you Kindle users for 77p. Great for all, Catholic or not, and cheaper than the printed version ‘Living Faith’ booklets you find at the back of church after Mass, as they’re usually £2 or so.
I hope you find something that suits your needs among this selection. Don’t forget that Wordlive and Pray-as-you-go will probably also offer Advent based prayer and scripture for the forthcoming season too.
Wishing you all a blessed Advent.
Thank you to The Vicar’s Wife for letting me link to her blog.
Today’s reading from ‘Jesus Calling’ by Sarah Young reminded me that even though I think I struggle to keep contact with God during my working day, all it takes is a quick glance towards Christ to keep me on the right path. Christ is forever there, waiting close by, in the wings so-to-speak, ready to guide us with a word, a gesture, a look. Our own personal prompter on the ‘stage’ of life to draw on whenever we need to….I will carry this image with me today.
Have a blessed day all.
“Waking-up cocooned in my soft, clean bed. Dozing in the silence, suspended in the half-light. Aware of the warmth of my gorgeous man beside me. Feeling safe, familiar, comforted, warm. Considering grabbing a jumper and going down to make a cuppa….decide on staying put…just another five minutes. The joy of actually having a choice, the blessing of half-term.”
Just in that first five minutes of my day there are many blessings to be found. Even in that short time I experience [and often take for granted] things that others can only dream of and hope for. I am safe, warm, comfy. I have my health and my mobility. I am not alone or lonely. I can go and make a hot drink or some breakfast as I have running water, electricity and a fridge full of food. So many choices, myriad options. Rich indeed!
Alternatively, how many people wake-up lying on the floor in an over-crowded slum with numerous family members squashed in beside them, all wearing the same clothes they wore yesterday. An absence of running water and electricity means no hot drink without lighting a fire [if you have the means] and walking half a mile to the river to bring back a bucket of dirty, disease infested water. No food at all and no chance of any until the only working adult receives their meagre weekly wage tomorrow. Or maybe the money should be spent on medicine for Grandma who has been coughing for over a month and is now desperately ill. Food for all or medicine for one? Tough choices. Impossible choices.
Are there any similarities between these two extremes? Can love be found in both? Love for family, for each other? Love of God? Is God even in both scenarios? I wonder if He might be more evident in the hearts of the poor than in my own? When you have nothing God might be all you have. If the choice is to go without food in order to buy medicine for someone else then surely God is in that selfless decision? Everyday I experience luxury and riches, I have more than I need and very few opportunities to share it as most of the people I know also have more than they need. I give my time, my love, my energy but I’m not sure this is enough.
This post was inspired by The Examen and the question ‘Do we actually realise the life we live while we’re living it?’ [The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything, p102]. When you practice the Examen and review your day with gratitude you realise how truly ‘rich’ you are. What would my Examen look like if I lived in the overcrowded room? I think about this often, but do I think about it enough?
I am slowly emerging from the dark place that has been my faith walk for the last year or so. I stopped actually trying to resolve things and just rested in God’s arms. Nothing structured at all really. Random prayer when the mood took me. I was just spiritually exhausted and working so hard at trying to find my way that I had stopped listening for those mumurings, those whispers from God.
I found myself re-watching ‘The Big Silence’ a few weeks ago, which in turn led me to look into Ignatian Spirituality [the tenuous link here is that part of the series is filmed at St Beuno's which is a Jesuit retreat centre in North Wales]. Somehow within that I’ve found a foothold back onto the faith ladder and I’m probably about a third of the way up and still climbing.
Ignatian spirituality is based firmly in the belief that God can be found in all things and all people. That we don’t need to withdraw or retreat in order to experience Him [although retreats certainly have their place]. Quote, “God’s footprints can be found everywhere, in our work, our relationships, family and friends, sorrows and joys, in the sublime beauty of nature and the mundane details of our daily lives.” IgnatianSpirituality.com Suddenly I was looking with fresh eyes.
So we are spending this week, which is half-term, asking ourselves, ‘where have we seen God today?’ Even Si has got involved. ;) God has turned up in some amazing places; in the golden sunset and pink sunrise, in the wind and rain, in the amazing rainbow that shone vividly through the rain. He looked at me through the loving eyes of my dog today and touched us through the gentle hands of the vet we visited. He is in the wonderful food that we eat, the fresh smell of clean clothes, and He gallops with the beautiful horses that graze in the paddock outside my kitchen window. He was in the hug and kiss Ethan gave me this morning…..all these things and many more I won’t bore you with. It’s a whole new way of looking at life, catching those God Glittering Gems that would otherwise just pass me by unnoticed.
I am enjoying travelling the Ignatian/Jesuit path. It feels like a good fit at the moment. It is practical, uncomplicated and very connected to real life in a way I can totally relate to. I can integrate it into my work at school, relationships, homelife, in fact every aspect of my life. Things aren’t perfect, I’m still not back at church nor do I have the desire to be but this feels like a step in the right direction.
Where have you seen God today?
Books I’ve found useful: ~
Today is my beautiful daughter Millie’s 21st birthday. We will be having a ‘bit of a do’ later in the form of a gathering of friends and family for a meal. I have written a poem just for her to celebrate the occasion. Here it is….
Our Journey Together
Twenty-one years!? Where have they flown?
As I sit here remembering just how much you’ve grown.
That perfect pink baby with the cute button nose,
So safe in my arms with your pearly-tipped toes.
So quiet at three with a mind of your own,
Dressed up as Mary in your blue homemade gown.
Your little hand in mine on that first walk to school.
I was so proud, and you were so small!
Netball team, choir, Nativity and ‘Grease’,
Such a good student, so willing to please.
Time raced on and secondary school came.
Once we’d moved to MK you were never the same.
Out of your shell, blossoming fast,
Determined and driven, not one to be last.
GCSE’s, ‘A’ levels, great results all.
So many proud moments, I felt six feet tall.
Prom day, so gorgeous in your dress bought by Jim.
“You look beautiful Chuck!” that would have been him.
Straight into employment with barely a pause,
There was just no holding you back anymore.
NVQ, driving, the list carries on.
Woodlands has bagged themselves a good’un.
So here we are at twenty-one years,
They’ve filled me with happiness, laughter and tears.
Such a wonderful journey we’ve had you and I.
When I look at you now you make my heart fly.
A blessing to many with the love that you show,
A warm heart so giving, a pleasure to know.
I don’t hold your hand in the street anymore,
But my love’s always with you, be very sure.
And always remember if ever you falter,
Our hearts are entwined as Mother and Daughter.
14th September, 2013
With all my love
Below are a few photo’s of my latest venture. I intend to start a little online business [when I've got enough stock worth starting with] selling various handmade items that I’ve crocheted and sewn. Nothing major but it’s nice to have a reason to make things rather than just for the sake of it. Here are a few of the first things.
There are lots more things in my head, it’s just finding the time to actually make them into a reality..
Hope you like!!??
“I am not getting out of this car, no way, no matter how long you leave that boot up I’m staying put. Last time you took me out in the car you left me at that dog’s home [aka luxury kennels] with all those riff-raff. And no, despite what the man told you I deffinately DIDN’T enjoy running like a mad thing round the fields with the other dogs. Why would I do that? Have you any idea how silly my ears look when I’m running at full pelt? That was an absolute lie, I was totally miserable the whole time. And yes, of course I ate all my food, I didn’t miss you THAT much”
We took Honey up to Derby with us this week to visit family and judging by her demeanor when we put her in the car ~ lay down totally flat and refuse to move ~ we think she thought she might be going to the kennels again. She took some coaxing at the other end too. She is so funny but such a good girl.