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A question of faith . . .

Hebrews 11 1

Hebrews 11:1

The children in my class were having a lesson yesterday [last day of term] on the meaning of Easter.  What [who?] we remember and celebrate on which days, and why?  One of them asked how we knew it was true?  [Good question!] The class teacher explained it was all down to faith.  Faith and love are the basis of everything within Christianity and most other religions too if I think about it.  The above piece of scripture immediately came to mind, the perfect response to such a question.  The bible holds the answers to most questions if you approach it with prayer and an open heart. 

The photo’ above illustrates how I experience my faith.  The trees are there in the distance, just out of reach.  On some days you can see them clearly, they’ll be bathed in sunlight and comfortingly evident, strong and stable. On other days they will be shrouded in mist and difficult to make out, with no clear definition and slightly surreal and dreamlike.  Faith, for me is just like this ~ on a good day it’s clear, tangible and strong, and I’m confident of my journey and direction.  On a misty day it’s difficult to be sure, I feel uncertain and weak in my resolve and the path ahead is unclear. 

As we approach Palm Sunday I wonder if Jesus was having a ‘clear’ day or a ‘misty’ day as he returned to Jerusalem?  How was his resolve [faith] in this, his last earthly week?  He could be forgiven for feeling uncertain and fearful.  I am grateful for his example and I strive to hold fast to my resolve on those difficult days.  So, faith is indeed being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see . . .even on a misty day.

Peace and blessings

The Light Years

Click image to see the book on Amazon.co.uk

As promised here is a review of my latest read.  I finished this book yesterday, progress had slowed as I’m back at work but still read it in less than a week which is pretty good given how busy I am.

So, I tend to initially be attracted to how a book looks and this cover is very pretty and caught my eye in the store.  I then go for the blurb and will read the first two pages of chapters one and two.  If it still has me hooked by this point it’s a ‘keeper’.   This is the first of five books in the series and looks at the life of a upper-middle class family in the late 1930’s.  The threat of war is slowly creeping into the lives of the Cazalet brothers Hugh, Edward and Rupert and their respective families.  London is their regular home but they all meet up every summer in Sussex, at the family ‘pile’ where their now elderly parents and [spinster] sister Rachel, still live.  

It is what I call a gentle read, rolling along at a sedate pace.  All seems pretty normal at the start but, like with all families if you scratch the surface, tensions and personal battles soon appear.  Like many families of that time a lot of effort is put into ‘people pleasing’ and appearing to do the right thing and behave in the correct manner as befits people of their station.  Keeping up a front and not letting the side down, even between the married couples, whilst keeping a tight hold on all emotions.  It is told from the perspective of each of the family members, from the grandparents right down to the children which is sometimes difficult to keep up with.  There is a family tree and a list of the respective households [including staff and servants] at the start of the book and this came in very useful at certain points. 

There are no chapters, the book is divided into two parts and each part is sub-divided into small sections, a new section for each person being focussed on.  I personally found this strange and prefer chapters although I have to be honest, I don’t really know why.  Old habits maybe?  I also found that, due to the shortness of each section and the speed at which it changed direction, I often became disorientated and lost track a bit.  This made it hard for me to become totally engrossed and ‘lost’ in the book.  I love books where you can totally lose yourself for a couple of hours without even realising the time, the ones you long to get back to and grieve their loss when they’re finished; this book isn’t quite one of those.

It was fairly well written although occasionally a phrase or sentence would present in such a way as to impede the flow and I’d have to re-read it to be sure that I’d understood the meaning correctly.  Initially I thought it was me but no, it was the style of writing and, for me anyway, it wasn’t always smooth.  That may say a lot more about me than it does about the author however.

For anyone who loves historical, family focussed fiction based around the pre WWII years, this is the perfect book.  It’s a real fireside read with comforting overtones and most people will recognise themselves or one of their family members in one of the characters.  It’s an almost voyeuristic look at the Cazalet family and you quickly become one of the family, getting emotionally involved and taking sides by the end of the book.  The book does not end on a cliff-hanger but does leave you wondering what’s going to happen next. 

Yes, I enjoyed the book.  I’d give it THREE STARS out of five.  I will probably buy the next in the series although not straight away.  It didn’t ‘drive’ me or pull me in like other books I’ve read but it fits into my occasional need for a book that I can read without having to invest too much emotional energy.

I’m now about a third of the way though C J Sansom’s, ‘Dissolution’ and so far it’s a cracking read.  Much better than I’d anticipated even from my initial assessment.  Loving it…..

For those who are wondering, it was a pretty good week at work in the end.  I have had a really bad day today but one out of seven isn’t bad.  Bad as in emotionally difficult but good inasmuch as I’m here with my ‘boys’ and we’ve been very busy cleaning, doing homework [not mine lol] and generally preparing for the week ahead.  I hope you all have a great week too and with any luck I’ll be back next Sunday with a review of Sansom’s book.

Sunday. . .

keep-calm-and-relax-its-sunday-21Sunday and how it ‘feels’ for me depends hugely on whether or not Monday is a work/school day.  Because I work in a school, and an academy at that, our holidays are different from local authority schools.  This gives rise to shorter terms and more frequent but slightly shorter holidays.  I quite like it.  I like the fact that some of my holiday mean that I’m ‘home alone’ and, being a girl who likes her own company, that is a good thing.  So lots of my Sundays are relaxed but many more are domestic whirlwinds of activity and homework support.

Tomorrow is a work day, first day back in fact.  I am not on domestic overkill today because I’ve had over two weeks to catch up on all things ‘clean and tidy’ so I’m pretty chilled on that front.  Also, Si and Ethan are not back tomorrow as Ethan has an inset day and it’s Si’s turn to stay off with him.  So, no uniform to get out, shoes were cleaned on the day we broke-up and PE kit was ready even before then.  I have my share of OCD to go with the depression :D .  In some ways it can be a blessing, really ;) .

I always feel very anxious the first day back after a break.  I’ve no idea why and it only applies to this job [Teaching Assistant].  Si is the same, he also works in a school so we know how each other is feeling.  I think there is a lot of emotional energy tied into working with children and one has to gear oneself up to playing that part.  And it really is an act sometimes.  Remaining calm and patient in every situation.  Being prepared to listen [properly] to the good and bad of children’s lives and reacting with  compassion and love regardless of how you feel on any particular day.  No room for depression at work which is possibly a good thing.  Despite having been crippled by my emotional state at times it has never caused me to have a day off work.  Luckily I have amazing colleagues so that helps too.

So, back to today.  Up at 8.30am ~ very rare to lie-in past 6.30am and by 8.30am tomorrow I’ll have been at work half an hour ~ OUCH!!  lol  Si went to meet his dad for breakfast in Mac D’s which they do every other weekend or so.  I stayed home with E and sorted some laundry, hoovered downstairs, made breakfast for one not so small boy and made the beds.  I also have to deal with the ‘zoo’ first thing each morning which involves cleaning all the trays, feeding them, washing all food and water bowls and sweeping or hoovering depending, as I only hoover every other day unless a disaster occurs.  It is now lunchtime and I’m going to enjoy the last of our Christmas gammon, that I cooked a few days ago, in a ham and mustard sandwich.  It’s our second joint as we loved the first one so much we bought another.  I’ve also got some vegetables to make soup with that I’ll put on to simmer after lunch.  Then it’s going to be family time, possibly walk Honey if the weather doesn’t turn wet ~ it’s very gray and damp out there in not so sunny Milton Keynes.  Then reading time. . .

I’ve nearly finished ‘The Light Years’ so I am hoping that by my next post I’ll have a review of sorts and I’ll be onto my next title. 

Enjoy your Sunday…..

Not a resolution as such. . .

Flying leaves of a bookHappy New Year!!

I know this blog has been rather neglected of late but a new job will do that to a girl.  It’s been madness at work since I started at the new school back in August’14.  Given that I’m doing the same job I’ve done for the last five years you’d think it would be an easy transition.  In reality, it’s taken quite a while to feel settled and I’ve actually no idea why, but there we go.  I’m hoping that next term will feel less chaotic.  As a direct result, the rest of my life has taken rather a back seat, including blogging, crochet, reading and cooking for fun.

So, here we are in 2015 [never even thought I’d live this long lol].  I don’t ‘do’ resolutions as I tend to set myself up to fail or they become a big metaphorical stick to beat myself with.  However, this year is going to be ‘The Year of the Book’ for me personally.  I’ve ignored my love of reading for far too long but have decided that all that is going to change in 2015, and that’s as close to a resolution as you’re going to get from me ;) .   My son Ethan [9] has also suddenly ‘found’ a passion for books and reading and I think that’s gone some way to refuelling my love of the written word.  We sit and read together, usually on my bed for half an hour before his bedtime, it’s the perfect way to end the day.  Happily, I’ve discovered that I can [and have] put a free Kindle reading app. on my android ‘phone and that has been liberating to put it mildly.  My ‘phone is so much nicer to read from than my Kindle; who knew??

So, I’ve been to Waterstones ~ oh dear I hear you cry!!  Historically I have not been a regular user of bookstores since the demise of Borders in the  UK, :( preferring Amazon.co.uk pricewise.  However, I’ve noticed that since the introduction of Postage & Packing on all orders less that £10, Amazon is not always that much of an amazing deal anymore.  Yes, lots of free Kindle books and yes, lots of great second-hand Market Place deals [1p + p&p type offers] but on new books and the latest releases there’s not much to separate them from the high street stores.  I think if you’re prepared to subscribe to Amazon Prime then possibly you do better, but I’m not so that’s that. 

To the book haul…..

The Light Years‘The Light Years’ by Elizabeth Jane Howard ~ first of five [so far] in the series following the Cazalet family.  At the moment we’re pre WWII with signs of international political unrest ‘on the horizon’.  The Cazalet family, brothers Hugh, Edward and Rupert and their respective wives and children, are living the good life, running the family firm and holidaying in Sussex each year at the family home where their parents and unmarried sister Rachel still live.  All appears idyllic at the outset but scratch the surface and reality appears…..  I’m half-way through this and enjoying it immensely.  It’s not too brain taxing which makes it a great bedtime read.  Will probably buy the next in the series at some point. 

Mindful Way Through Depression‘The Mindful Way through Depression’ by Williams et al.  This is non-fiction and my only nod to the fact that I’ve dealt with chronic depression on and off since my late 20’s.  I don’t publicise this but I acknowledge and accept it’s part of who I am.  I no longer get medical support [and haven’t for years] as that involves drugs which I won’t take and counselling that I find negative and difficult.  This book has been the best thing I’ve ever found for dealing positively with low mood and chronic unhappiness and I’d fully recommend it to anyone struggling to any degree with this kind of thing.  It draws on my Buddhist roots which gives it a familiar feel, and you don’t often meet a depressed Buddhist lol.  My christian faith has fuelled my depression, probably because I tend to focus on the huge list of things I’ve done wrong [from a religious pov] in the past and that leads to self-loathing, which in turn leads to a negative downward sprial…..and you can guess the rest I’m sure.  Things have been desperately bad for the last couple of months so it was time to take the bull by the horns and be proactive…this book is part of that stir into action.  Sadly I’ve had to put my faith to one side for a while as it was literally killing me.  It’s in storage, not thrown away…..for now at least.  I’m on chapter four of this book and taking it slowly as it’s meant to be savoured.  It has a CD of accompanying meditations with it making it great value.

DissolutionI also bought C.J. Sansom’s, ‘Dissolution’.  The first of five in a historical crime fiction series [also described as a thriller, murder mystery, whodunnit, detective story].  This is a TBR [To Be Read] so I’ll let you know what I think of it as it’s a bit of a departure from what I normally read.  I’ve noticed that I rarely read male authors, not a conscious choice but an interesting observation nonetheless.

Elizabeth is missingNext is ‘Elizabeth is Missing’ by Emma Healy…it’s all over the bookclub lists and new release tables and gets very good reviews.  Again, it’s a TBR so I’ll let you know.

Finally I bought ‘Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death’ by James Runcie.  This is the first of the

Granchester 1

‘Grantchester Mysteries’ series [they have recently been televised but I didn’t watch them].  The first three books are in print with number four due out in May of this year. 

I’m hoping I will find a touch of the Morse and Marple mixed up in these….we’ll see!  Also sitting on my TBR shelf for now. 

Just to keep you all up to speed I’m also just over half-way through the second in the ‘Game of Thrones’ series by George R.R. Martin ~ ‘The Clash of Kings’, (A Song of Fire and Ice).  I really enjoyed the first book which is my first foray into the Fantasy genre for quite a while.  Once you’ve got to grips with all the characters and their families and affiliations it gets easier and I quickly became totally absorbed, which is the sign of a good book for me.  I bought the first seven books a while back on my Kindle, they were on offer at £2 each which was a really good deal.  I tend to read these at work during my lunch break or whenever I’m trying to kill time and my ‘phone is handy. 

I intend to post proper reviews of the books I’ve finished as I go. 

Just a quick line about e.book versus hardcopy.  The one thing that I find really difficult about e.books is when you have a complex plot, like in Game of Thrones that requires a lot of concentration at the start just to keep track of who’s who, I like to flick back to the beginning every now and then to refresh my memory.  That’s not easy on the Kindle which, for me, is a huge downside.  Similarly you may have a list of characters and their families such as there is at the start of the Cazalet series, which you might want to refer to frequently at the start; again not always so easy with an e.book.  Given a ‘gun to the head’ type choice I’d still go with a hardcopy every time but Kindle [Amazon] do offer so many good deals that it’s nice to have both to choose from.

By the way my TBR shelf has about 30++ titles on it so these are just a small taste of the latest editions.  I’m not sure why I always have two or three books on the go at once but I don’t think I’m alone in that habit. Usually one non-fiction, one ‘easy read’ and one ‘makes you think so bring your brain’.

Happy reading all…..

Hi lovelies…

I thought I’d post a few photo’s so you can see the progress of my Chocolate Sundae blanket.  It sure eats a lot of wool and takes quite a lot of time to do just the one stripe [four rows] but I think it’s because it’s made to fit our Super Kingsize bed!!!!  I’ve just ordered another ball ~ 100g ~ of each main colour as I don’t think I’m going to have enough at three of each which was what I bought initially; I’m already halfway through the second ball of each colour and, as you can see from the photo’s, not even half way through.  I didn’t buy anymore raspberry [yet] for the thin [two rows of dc] stripe, but it’s only a matter of time as I’ve decided I will do the border in that wonderful raspberry colour. 

The only issue I have so far is that the blanket has become marginally wider as I’ve progressed.  Now, this could be down to my tension not being consistent as I crochet at different times of the day ~ I’m obviously getting a little slack lol :D .  Could be my mood or because I’m tired maybe?  It could also be that the foundation chain is a bit tight and less flexible so pinching the start of the blanket in.  I did use a half size bigger hook [4.5mm] to make the foundation chain so it shouldn’t be too tight but hey, who knows? 

Anyway, photo’s…..

Chocolate Sundae 09.11 (4)

Yummy chocolate stack. . .

Chocolate Sundae 09.11 (6)

Laid up my bed. . .

Chocolate Sundae 09.11 (7)

Close up. . .

Chocolate Sundae 09.11

Full width across my bed . . .

Chocolate Sundae 09.11 (10)
As you can see, the increase in width is not really noticeable, it is only tiny but I’m a perfectionistFor those who are interested in what colours and make of yarn I bought and from where, HERE is the link to the birth of the blanket sotospeak.  For the stitches used and in what order, HERE is the link to the pattern/tutorial type post.  It’s my own so no copywrite issues to worry about…..xx

Happy hooking all. . . xx

More coaster chaos. . .

I have gone a bit coaster crazy it would appear.  I’m actually considering selling some, but hey, I’m good at making plans and then life takes over, free time vanishes and reality sets in……

Anyway here are a few shots of what I’ve been up to the last couple of days.  I intend to make a coaster from each colour of cotton and then start mixing and matching some colours and making sets of four or six coasters.

Coaster Chaos Oct'14 (10)

These are a cotton mix with lovely sparkly bits. I only have these three balls so there’ll be no more when it’s gone. . .

Coaster Chaos Oct'14 (8)

These are made using Stylecraft Classique 100% cotton DK ~ bought from The Wool Warehouse. This is lovely to use and doesn’t split. . .

Coaster Chaos Oct'14 (13)

Made using Patons 100% cotton. It’s mercerised so has a slight sheen to it. Can also be bought from The Wool Warehouse.

The pattern for these coasters used to be availabe on About.com but has now vanished. The original pattern was called 1893 Circle Motiff.  Luckily it’s so popular that lots of ladies have written it up on their blogs and sites.  Here is a link to Janette’s blog, ‘The Green Dragonfly’ where you’ll find her step-by-step tutorial on how to make them.  Janette comes from beautiful New Zealand so she uses USA crochet terms, so if you’re using UK terms then remember to do a Treble Crochet [tr] where Janette has put Double Crochet [dc].  If you need help then here is a fab conversion chart that has all you need for any pattern where you need to convert the terms.  It also has all manner or terms and abbreviations explained.  For all of the yarn shown above I’ve used a 3.5mm hook [E].

Happy Hooking on this All Hallows’ Eve!!

Coasting through half-term . . .

It’s half-term here in the Smith household.  ***sounds of cheering***  Despite the weather [wet, chilly and windy today] we’re having a lovely, restful week.  I’ve been adding a bit more to my Chocolate Sundae blanket and have also started making a few cotton coasters again.  Here are a couple of photo’s of the coasters.  Not much point in taking a photo’ of the blanket as it just looks the same, but bigger.  I think once it’s nearly done it’ll be worth posting a few shots again.

Cotton coaster Oct '14 (5)

The two blue ones are made using Stylecraft Classique DK Cotton and the purple one is Patons Mercerised DK Cotton. You can tell there’s a slight difference as the purple one has a slight sheen to it and, despite them both being DK weight, the Stylecraft coasters are a tiny bit bigger. I used a 3.5 hook for both.

Cotton coaster Oct '14 (2)

I love the darker colours for a change. Feels very seasonal.

and Suri makes six. . .

Introducing Suri [Japanese for princess], our new Devon Rex kitten. She is four months old now and came to us as rather a surprise last Wednesday, it’s a long story. She is Willow’s full sister but not of the same litter, just the same parents. Suri and Willow bonded instantly and are now inseparable. She is a cream silver tabby [for those who like to know these things] but with Devons the colour is not paramount as there are so many variations. I may show her if an opportunity close to home comes up. I don’t like driving the length of the country for a cat show, my weekends are short enough as it is, but a day out showing within a couple of hours drive can be very pleasant.

So to the best bit, photo’s. . .

Suri 25.09 (7)

Sitting on my bed with Callie lurking in the background.

Suri 25.09 (10)

Shall I jump? [She’s totally fearless I might add and slightly bonkers]

Willow and Suri

Lying on my legs with the very pretty Willow, I was in bed at the time [poorly]. They’re wonderful company . . .

Willow and Suri#3

Willow washing a sleepy Suri ~ bless!  [That dark set of ears you can see top left belong to Ava who is sleeping in the princess bed on the blanket box on the landing.]

So, there we have it, and Suri makes six. **Runs screaming hysterically from the room!**  She is lovely, so gentle with people, loves to be with you and snuggle. Totally fearless and slightly bonkers, especially when playing with Reu and Willow. It’s strange but true that Devons like their own breed. In a house of twenty cats, if only two of them were Devons they’d pair up and become friends. I’ve no idea how they know, but they do. We have two distinct ‘gangs’ here, the moggies and the Devons. All live peaceably together but there is an obvious divide indicated by who sleeps/plays with who.

If anyone out there is thinking of buying a Devon as a single [lone] cat think very carefully if they’re to be left alone for long periods of time. Fine if you’re home all day apart from the normal trips out, but if you work then consider buying two so they have each other for company when you’re not around. Also be prepared to have them around you all of the time, they’re very devoted and people focussed. I don’t advise letting them outside [ours come into the garden with us on sunny days but they don’t leave the garden] and they won’t want to be away from you for any amount of time anyway.  Their coats are not designed for cold weather [no undercoat] and they’re so curious and people orientated that they’d easily be stolen or attacked by other animals.  They’re a cross between a dog, a lamb and a spider monkey.  Somehow I’ve ended up giving an unexpected Devon Rex 101 but hey, good to share the wisdom I suppose.  Here is a LINK to a breed profile which, if nothing else, has some lovely photo’s and a video of Devons.

Have a good week all, I’m back to work tomorrow [bugs allowing]. . .

Prayer Journal [ARC]

Hi everyone xx

I’ve just had a week off for half-term.  Yes, I know that’s early but my new job is in an academy so they get to set their own holidays/terms.  This week is chosen so that families can take advantage of cheap holiday deals out of season, and also hopefully enjoy an Indian summer [has been quite a nice week here in the UK].

During my week off I’ve been doing all the things I really love ~ journaling, hair cut, meals out with friends, loving my animals without time constraint and welcoming a new kitten into the house [that’s another post I think ;) ].  And yes, for those who are counting that makes SIX cats, we’re done at six I promise.  Also a few things that I’m not so keen on such as a dental check-up and trying desperately to overcome a terrible, persistent earache that I had for over two weeks in the end.  An uber course of antibiotics has hopefully seen the back of it, especially as I took the last one this morning.  Here’s hoping!

So, one of the lovely things I’ve done this week is make a ‘Prayer Journal’.  I got the idea from a lovely lady called Gina Garland who made THIS YOUTUBE video about how she made it, and also offers a free booklet of very detailed guidelines too.  There is an email address under the video where you can request the booklet, and Gina will send it to you by return as an attachment.  I got mine in less that 24 hours, impressive given the time difference [USA].

So here are rather a lot of photos of my ‘Prayer Journal’.  I’ve literally only just finished it today.  I used an ARC planner, A5 size in the poly cover.  Here is A LINK to one exactly the same price and size as mine, just a slightly different cover design.  I was going to buy an A5 binder as Gina suggests in the video, but Staples have no inserts, dividers or A5 sized anything to go in one, plenty of binders but pretty useless without the basic accessories.  As I already have all the ARC things from making my daily planner/diary it made sense just to buy the poly one.  Okay, I’ve waffled enough……photo’s…..

Prayer Journal September 2014

The cover of my new Prayer Journal

Prayer Journal September 2014 (2)

Title page

Prayer Journal September 2014 (3)

Next . . .

Prayer Journal September 2014 (4)

Prayer Journal September 2014 (6)

I made all the page dividers myself using THIS Autmn paper [more like card imo as 230gsm] collection from Hobbycraft. As it’s double sided I used a piece in reverse to make the subject tabs that you can just make out top right of each divider.

Prayer Journal September 2014 (7)

Each tab indicates what or who you are praying for.

Prayer Journal September 2014 (8)

The reverse side of the divider above.

Prayer Journal September 2014 (9)

Praying for our marriage

Prayer Journal September 2014 (10)

Praying for my children

Prayer Journal September 2014 (11)

‘Parents and Family’ ~ such pretty papers [card], friends are prayed for in the Weekly section

Prayer Journal September 2014 (12)

Reverse side of the above divider just to show you how lovely they are

Prayer Journal September 2014 (13)

Once a week prayers

Prayer Journal September 2014 (16)

I made my own little tabs/page flags for the days of the week [Mon-Fri] in the ‘Once a Week Prayers’ section using washi tape and coloured paper clips

Prayer Journal September 2014 (15)

Here are all five of them peeping out of the pages ~ I will probably decorate the blank pages themselves with washi tape, stickers etc. as I go…

Prayer Journal September 2014 (14)

…continuing on…

Prayer Journal September 2014 (19)

I decided to put a ‘Scripture Journal’ in mine

I hope you’ve enjoyed this ‘walk’ through my Prayer Journal. If anyone has any questions or if any of the links don’t work then don’t hesitate to message me. Many thanks go to the lovely Gina for sharing her idea and help booklet so freely.

Something to consider. . .

Freedom QuoteThere was a discussion on the dreaded Facebook yesterday about banning the wearing of the burka [not sure if the niqab comes under that ban as well] in the UK.  As many of you will know it has been banned in France already.  Now, I have to say at this point that I totally understand the security based reasons behind this school of thought.  However, looking at the bigger picture from a different angle, I am worried that we are picking away at our freedom of choice that we are so famous for as a nation. If we start dictating what people can wear then where will it end? 

Historically, I can remember a nurse and a British Airway’s clerk both of whom were banned from wearing a christian cross at work.  I wear my crucifix all the time, in fact I rarely take it off.  Although wearing a cross or similar is not a security issue, I can see similarities here, and feel an equal amount of injustice at both situations.  Again, removing our freedom of choice, and this is supposed to be a christian country first and foremost!!

I know that for those muslim women who choose to wear the burka for the right reasons [i.e. based in faith as an informed choice, not through fear or oppression] being told they can’t wear it in public would cause, at the very least, feelings of distress, anxiety and frustration.  They would feel they are compromising their beliefs.  Interestingly, part of the discussion produced the comment that ‘they should go to a country that shares their religious views’.  Fair point, but that could be tricky if they’re white british.  White british muslim converts are often the most devout and passionate about their faith, which has lead to some of them choosing to take the veil.  These women belong in the UK regardless of their religion, their lives and families are here.  We have a huge, and still growing, muslim convert community here in MK and I think that’s something to celebrate.

So, going back to my initial fears, how free to choose are we really?  I’m starting to wonder in this rapidly developing ‘Nanny State’.  I used to celebrate and feel lucky at being British and living here.  At times now I feel suffocated by, and disappointed at the country I live in and some of the people I have to share it with.  I am obviously aware of the terrible extremist based crimes taking place, but in my opinion they have nothing to do with real faith or religion.  God/Allah pbuh, does not sanction genocide or terrorism, so no religious label or scripture will ever make that right, no matter how hard they try to justify their crimes under that banner.

I found these quotes last night and they really made me think:~

      “Not enough people know or understand just how little freedom we have left.”  Korban Blake

      “As free as you allow others to be, such freedom you create for yourself.”  Bryant McGill

Finally, I found this in an article in The Guardian by Andrew Brown and I wonder if maybe he’s right:~

      “The burka debate is not so much about religious obligation, as about the public rejection of the surrounding society, and society’s tolerance for that.”

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