Showing posts from April, 2013

It Runs in the Family

By Belinda It's officially a family affliction, this sentimental attachment to photos! I have had so many creative suggestions in the comment section on how to "have my cake and eat it too," i.e. a clutterless house, and yet have a way to display photos of the people in my life. My Dutch cousin Deb, who lives in Alicante, Spain; wrote that she solved her need to have photos of her dear ones on display, by using a clear plastic curtain with pockets into which she slotted her photos (that's a photo she sent me above.) She explained: "It is like a curtain with holes in it on top and probably to put cd's in but for me it was the photo curtain I had in the entrance-hall in the former flat......I have to find a new place for it here." Cindy, a blog friend, suggested putting the fridge photos into an album which would be on top of the fridge for people to browse through. This was getting warm, but still dangerously like clutter to me in my zeal to

The Message of the Many Balls

By Belinda It was one of those holy moments. We were praying as a work group at the start of our team meeting. One of our managers prayed for God's help with the many duties we juggle and she used the words, "the balls we need to keep in the air." And I saw  this picture: A figure stood facing me but I could not see who from the neck up. Around the person, on the ground, were scattered balls.  Jesus was there too, facing the person. He bent down, and picked up a ball, a blue one. He gently placed it in the person's hands, in a most loving and intimate way. This was the ball the person was to carry and focus on in that moment. And he was the one who knew which one it should be. It was simple, profound, and filled my heart with peace and my eyes with tears as I shared it moments later with the team. Matthew 11:28-30 The Message (MSG) 28-30  “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I

Guilt Ridden

By Belinda There are times in life to think through potential transitions and Paul and I did some of that recently.  Brenda, Kevin and the girls will be moving out this summer as both girls will be in high school in another town, so we thought for a while about selling our beloved home of 25 years and moving ourselves. Our daughter-in-law Sue, who with Pete and their four children, recently went through the major life disruption of a move herself and is therefore a bit of an expert on selling a house; told us that clutter; i.e. anything that makes a home a home; has to go. Oh, yes, and family photos too; anything that is personal, the theory being that potential buyers should be able to imagine their family in your home without being distracted by evidence of the family who still lives there. We thought and prayed a lot, and weighed the pros and cons. In the end we decided to stay here, and once we made that decision our hearts heaved a sigh of relief and we felt at peace. We

Deep Joys and Intense Pleasures

By Belinda , I find myself now and again, in the middle of moments of deep joy and intense pleasure--both slightly different things, but they go together well. When I notice one, I always consciously and simply enjoy it fully and completely. I had several of these moments while in England. Some may seem ordinary things to excite joy, but that to me is the best thing about them. 1) Engaging others in the surprising of Rob, multiplied the excitement factor. I really did imagine a host of people behind my shoulder shouting "surprise!" with me. :) 2) Enlisting the support of my 26 year old nephew, John, in carrying out the plan. He picked me up at the airport and together we came up with the best way of making it happen. Sharing this with him was very special. 3) Cooking a home made macaroni cheese, for Rob, twice. There is something so intensely satisfying and gratifying about chopping and measuring, stirring and grating, until it all comes together and something  made o

A One Minute Sermon

By Belinda One of my coworkers, Diana, sent me a link to this one minute and thirty nice seconds sermon. It left me breathless listening to it, but this lady says everything that needs to be said in the space of that time!


By Belinda I arrived home to the fair land of Canada late yesterday and so glad to have email that feels as though it is working at the speed of light--which it probably is! I will continue to be grateful whenever I think back to the chug, chug, chu-u-g--stop! of the internet over the past two weeks. :) I thought that I would write and journal regularly while I was away, but here I am already home and only two journal entries and three blog posts to show for an entire vacation. That seems almost scandalous. But apart from the time I wasted trying to connect to the uncooperative net, what this meant was that I was investing time in other things that I might not have done so well if I had been writing. Instead, I was being with, or doing things with, the people who were my whole purpose in being in England. I am always struck by the irony of having judged people who spend so much time recording their lives on i phones or other recording devices that they aren't actually "

The Profitable Pause

By Belinda A brief change of topic from Alvechurch Chronicles, to something I've been thinking about;  an audio book I listened to a while ago: Scream Free Marriage: Calming Down, Growing Up, and Getting Closer, by Hal Runkel. I loved the book, and it has added lasting value to all of my relationships--so I have to share. One of the stories in the book is about a couple whose stressful circumstances bubbled over into tension in their relationship. The half of the couple that was typically the most outspoken and aggressive, said, at a moment that was explosive, “Let’s be careful.” He was really saying, “We have something we care about that is of value; let’s press “pause.” Now, it’s amazing how often I hear those words in my head; “Let’s be careful;”, at moments when I am on the verge of offense or defensiveness. Pressing “pause” and calming down gives you a gift: a chance for perspective to shift—and it’s amazing how it does. Having had years of saying things in t


By Belinda It was a chilly and drizzly day yesterday, but in spite of the sad weather, Rob and I went out with his friends and neighbours, Derek and Shirley, to the  Jinney Ring Craft Centre , not too far from Alvechurch, where artisans making violins; handmade soaps; rag rugs; candles; stained glass; blown glass; woodwork and pottery; make and sell their wares. We looked at the beautifully crafted items and sniffed the air scented with the candles and soaps, but it wasn't long before shivering in the damp air, we succumbed to the comforting warmth of the tea room and viewed our surroundings from the windows while enjoying a hot drink and a freshly baked treat. I chose a slice of  Victoria Sandwich Cake --and I knew that Paul's mouth would be watering if he only knew! :) The others enjoyed their own guilty pleasures. As I gazed past the pond outside the window, around which all sorts of interesting breeds of ducks were scattered, I noticed through the haze, the profile o

The Journey Here

By Belinda A little about my journey to get here--out of sequence, but I had to get down to the most important business, earlier. :) ...In C34, the boarding lounge for KLM flight 692 on Friday evening, I connected as quickly as I could, to the free internet at Lester B. Pearson Airport, Toronto--to check Face Book. A message waited there from my nephew John, and he had given me his cell phone number to call him in case of any problems. Just then, as I searched my handbag for a pen, I heard my row being called for boarding. Usually I stock up with many pens but in my last minute rush, changing over to traveling bags, I hadn't packed even one! I broke into the airport anonymity of the man across from me to beg a pen from him and scribble John's number into my moleskin journal, handing it back with ridiculous gratitude for this essential implement, afterwards. I turned off my laptop and gathered up my carry on luggage to board the plane, bent on securing another pen as soo

1953--A Year to Celebrate Much!

By Belinda Rob’s surprise on Saturday was not the only plot being hatched. Mum’s dear friend of 64 years, Aunty May, and her husband Uncle Tommy; were celebrating their 60 th wedding anniversary the weekend just before Rob’s 60 th birthday and  had come down from their home in South Shields, near Newcastle; to stay with their daughter Diane, in Bidford on Avon, just half an hour from Alvechurch, where her other daughter Trudy and her partner Richard would join them for their special celebrations. They all knew that I was coming, but Aunty May and Uncle Tommy didn’t know that their son, Paul, was flying in from Mexico to surprise them. I had to be careful not to mention that to Aunty May, while they were being careful not to mention my coming to Rob! Knowing that I was coming over, Aunty May and Uncle Tommy delayed their return home long enough to see me, and we planned that Rob and I would visit Diane’s on Sunday the 7 th of April. Rob had visited them the previous weekend

Mission Accomplished!

By Belinda I only just managed to get hooked up to a very sloooow internet connection. My apologies to all who have emailed and whom I have not yet answered. I keep losing what connection I am able to pick up. But here goes! I will post again about my journey later, but I'm going to start by getting right to the news I know you are waiting to hear--how Saturday morning unfolded! The KLM City Hopper, from Amsterdam, where I had landed earlier that morning, began its descent into Birmingham airport right on time, at 8.40 a.m. Down below a patchwork of  green  fields, and farms surrounded the airport, and cars and trucks that looked like toys, ran along the country roads in the spring morning sunshine. The airport still seemed Saturday morning quiet, as we sleepy passengers made our way to passport control.  When it was my turn to approach the friendly looking middle aged female official and show my passport, I couldn't help myself when she asked, "Are you here on b