Welcome to my attempt to live fully and honestly, to sing out the song of myself, to truly know who I am......

.....either that or the ramblings of a barely coherant, tired out mum of two!!

Tuesday, 20 December 2005


I greeted the moon as I walked to work this morning. There she was in her half state, majestic and beautiful as she smiled down from her lofty place.

My cynical side enquired from deep within 'what are you saying hello to the moon for - it is just a big, dead, rock!'

Ah yes, I replied but the light from the sun gives it life and light and beauty and makes my heart warm to see her glowing there.

What a picture of what the Christ light does for us! We are cold and dead but in the light from God's Son we shine and come alive hopefully then spreading the light to others, radiating his light and love to a cold and lonely world.

Thank you Lord, for your indescribable gift!

Tuesday, 13 December 2005

Baby Blogger - My first Christmas Party!!


Mummy took me to my first Christmas party yesterday - I was tired so I slpt through most of it! There was some singing and unwrapping a parcel that had been passed around a bit. I got something that mummy called 'white chocolate buttons' - it tasted odd so Peter ate them!

A funny looking man in a red suit with a white beard came. I sat on his knee and he gave me another parcel. This one was just for me and had a cuddly zebra book in it. Peter helped me unwrap it because I'm not very good at opening things yet.

I think I had a good time but it was all a bit odd!!

Eleanor xx

Tuesday, 6 December 2005

2005: A review.

As the year begins to draw to a close I thought I would take a look at the highs and lows of the family Blog.

At the beginning of the year Daddy Blog was facing the possibility of redundancy in fact he ended up being promoted - a mixed blessing! His work is now very stressful and involves overtime which leaves me having to feed, bathe and put to bed a 2 1/2 year old and a seven month old without any help. It works if Peter is happy to watch TV while I put the baby to bed.

Last year Daddy Blog was witness to a murder - this impacted on this year - worrying about making a statement and recriminations, awaiting the trial, giving evidence. At last, the murderer was sentenced to a minimum of 25 years and life began to return to normal.

I continued to feel ill with my second pregnancy and eventually celebrated the birth of Eleanor in May. She is a delight and a wonder.

I returned to work in October to find that internal politics and silliness was running on unabated. The new bod at the top has turned things upside down to the extent that no-one really knows what to expect next year.

My course continues to go well although I was ready to jack it all in a month or so ago. It all just seemed to be a bit too much. I have decided to only do the minimum two essays this academic year, so I should have filled that requirement by New Year. This should make the time until summer a little less stressful.

Peter continued to cope well with his hemiplegia and was making good progress. The glandular fever he was diagnosed with in November has slowed him down a bit but hopefully he will pick up a bit after the excitement of Christmas. He is still very tired and in some areas of his develpment he has taken a step backward.

Eleanor is thriving. She is a little podge and totally adorable. She sleeps through the night - something her older brother is yet to achieve.

My Film of the Year - not having seen many I think it waould have to be Wallace and Gromit - and the Were-Rabbit closely followed by Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

My Book of the Year - again I haven't really read much but my vote would be for Thud by Terry Pratchett.

Album of the Year - I haven't recieved it yet but I can safely say that it will be Deep Blue by Martyn Joseph!!

Monday, 28 November 2005

Being Church

Real Live Preacher wrote a piece on different ways of being church. It sounds idyllic and made me wish for a better way of doing things than we seem to manage in the Anglican Church.

It has been decided by our Diocese that our Parish and the one next door will not be getting new priests to fill our vacancies. We have been in vacancy for over 4 years -- waiting, hoping, despairing, whilst our numbers dwindle and our hope along with it.

A few years ago a document was written about what the inner city parishes need to survive and thrive. One of the conclusions was that parishes like ours need more priests, more resources, more input. Sadly, this has not been implemented and we are to get fewer priests, fewer resources, very little input.

It has been decided that we are to be an experiment in a new way of being church. We are being given a lay missioner to cover both inner city parishes. This person will be supported by two non stipendary priests - one for each parish. This person will be responsible for bringing the Gospel message to the tens of thousands of people who live within the boundaries of these two parishes. We will not be a united benefice just two churches with the same incumbant.

My cynical, hope drained self thinks this is second rate, an experiment doomed to failure, a job too big for any one person to take on, a let down, a disappointment.

My dare to hope, positive self hopes that this will be just what we need. I even get excited when I think of the possibilities and opportunities that will come with this appointment.

Someone has now been appointed. A married couple job sharing the post. They have children!! They are excited about joining us in February. They feel that this is where God is calling them and they can't wait to be with us.

When they come I will have someone to support and encourage me through my Lay Reader training. I will have someone to help discern what God is calling me to. We will have someone to love and to guide us. To help us find our direction and give us back our sense of purpose.

We will have someone to help us be church again in our inner city parish(es). We will have someone.

Sunday, 20 November 2005

Baby Blogger -Hospital - again!

Yesterday I went to see the Doctor at the hospital again. He examined the lump in my neck and gave me a sticker for being a good boy!

He talked to mummy and daddy but I didn't really understand what was being said, but they were smiling so I think everything is ok. I have to go back in a few months time just to be completely sure.

Peter xx

Peters blood results show markers for glandular fever but it is uncertain what caused it. He is still quite tired but is slowly improving. The doctor said that we could repeat the blood tests as sometimes the results were clearer after a time. Since this was not really necessary we declined.

Eleanor xx

Wednesday, 16 November 2005

Baby Blogger - Musings

Hello everyone!

My name is Eleanor, I am now six months old and my parents say I am extremely cute. My big brother Peter is very boisterous and jumps up and down on me. I don't mind too much although he does sometimes make me cry.

I can nearly sit up by myself, I am a bit wobbly and sometimes I get so excited I fall over backwards but I am getting there.

Peter is almost two and a half now and mummy and daddy say he is doing really well. He won't leave his thumb splint on but tolerates his ankle/foot splint very well.

We have both had colds - I still have mine but Peter is better.

Peter is still recovering from his glandular fever and gets very tired.

Well that's it for my first ever posting - bye!

Eleanor xx

Wednesday, 2 November 2005

An Essay from my course

A man was walking through Radford when he fell among a gang of thieves, who stripped him of his goods and his clothing, beat him and departed, not caring if he were alive or dead. Now along that road came a priest who, being very busy with visiting and other duties, passed by on the other side of the street. Similarly a local MP also came along the road and, seeing the man gave him a wide berth and hurried on by to his rather important council meeting. But a young black man, dripping with gold and as cool as you like, came by and when he saw him he was overcome with compassion and rushed to his side. He bound his wounds pouring on water; he dressed him in his expensive jacket and called an ambulance. He travelled with him to the hospital, bought him some toiletries and nightwear and once he was settled and in safe hands he went on his way, leaving his mobile number with the staff. The next day he called at the hospital and spent several hours by his bedside talking to him and offering comfort. He brought magazines and fruit and asked the staff to call him if the man should awake and require anything.

I chose to base this assignment on the Good Samaritan because despite 2000 years of evolution I think the question of ‘Who is my neighbour?’ remains a relevant and thought provoking one. We live in an increasingly multi-cultural, multi-faith society. We rub up against all kinds of people in our daily work and personal lives. Are any of these people our neighbour? Are all of these people our neighbour? What is a neighbour anyway? These questions I believe are answered by Jesus in the telling of the ‘Good’ or ‘Compassionate Samaritan’. At the time of the original parable Jews and Samaritans did not mix, they lived separately, worshipped separately and did not intermarry. The Jews hated and despised the Samaritans and in our modern world there are a number of people groups who feel the same way about each other. Racism, fascism and several other ‘isms’ are rife in a society that sees terrorists and infiltrators on every corner. As society has grown to accommodate people of other races we have become more suspicious and more possessive of our territory and identity. Far from being a whole and integrated, unified society we are instead fragmented, huddled in our familiar groups hardly daring to step beyond what we consider to be the norm. What did the parable mean to Jesus’ hearers when first they heard it? Does it still have relevance today or do we need to re-interpret it for a new age?

According to Snodgrass (2000) there have been a number of different approaches to interpreting the meaning of the parables. The use of allegory was popular for a time but was at least partly replaced by methods that relied more on the actual text and the cultural and historical settings. Others have taken a literary approach and yet others an artistic one. Drane (1999, p123) points out the dangers of using only one method when he discusses Augustine’s allegorical retelling of ‘The Good Samaritan’. According to Drane, Augustine re-labels every element of the story, from Jerusalem to the two coins, to come up with ‘an ingenious account’ of his understanding of salvation which bears little connection to the original story. In the assessment of Keesmaat (2000) there is also a danger in adopting only a contextual approach to understanding the parables. In focussing too closely on what the message for Jesus’ listeners was we can miss what the story has to say to us today. Drane (1999, p138) agrees stating that ‘the real meaning of the parables must always be bound up with the challenge they bring to those who read or hear them’. He goes on to say that the parables ‘are an invitation into new territory, an opportunity to re-imagine the world as we know and experience it, in the light of Jesus’ portrayal of God’s character’.
Julicher (1899) suggests that the parables are simply tools used by Jesus to illustrate a point. In the parable of the Good Samaritan the point is that the person who proved to be a real neighbour was not a religious Jew, but a member of a despised social group. The rest is just scene setting. Keesmaat (2000, p263) contends that only using the given context is a ‘safe’ way to read the parables since it ‘ensures that engagement between a text and its context do not become uncomfortably close to our own world’. It would seem then that the parables benefit from a multi-layered approach to interpretation.
Keesmaat (2000 p265) maintains that the parables of Jesus function to challenge the prevailing worldview so that understanding what a parable meant to Jesus’ hearers helps us to understand what it might mean for us today. With that in mind she places the parable firmly in the context of the questions asked by the lawyer and points out that Jesus turns the questions and his listeners expectations upside down, thus getting to the heart of the issue and making an impact (p276). Jesus takes the question of ‘who is my neighbour?’, and leaves his hearers and the questioner in no doubt that it is not simply about being a neighbour to the despised but that the lawyer should ‘allow an enemy to become a neighbour to him … [and] that he is to follow the example of his enemy in learning what it is to be a neighbour’(p282).
As this parable is in answer to a question put to Jesus I believe it to be one of the more straightforward ones and agree with the views expressed above. I am reminded of the wood stain advert whose catchphrase is ‘It does exactly what it says on the tin’. This parable is another insight into the Kingdom of God. It states very clearly that the Kingdom includes people who we may see as unworthy or excluded. It teaches us that anyone in need is our neighbour and that we should allow even those we despise to be neighbours to us.

I chose to retell the parable only, without the interaction between Jesus and the lawyer in this sense it loses a little of the contextual setting. At the beginning of this essay I asked some questions that amount to ‘Who is my neighbour?’ and ‘What is a neighbour anyway?’ these questions are similar to those asked by the lawyer in the Luke passage. In the rewrite I have tried to retain the flavour and meaning of the original but set it in a cultural context easily accessible to a modern day audience this is because I believe the original meanings to have relevance and resonance in our communities and lives today.
Both the original and my interpretation begin with ‘A man’ travelling somewhere. I could as easily written ‘a person’ or ‘a woman’ but chose to keep it simple and have ‘man’ stand in as a representative of the human race. In the original the man was travelling from somewhere to somewhere whereas my ‘man’ is travelling through somewhere. The road from Jerusalem to Jericho was renowned for the bandits that roamed out from local villages to supplement meagre incomes with raids on lone travellers (Keesmaat 2000 p278). I set my piece in Radford because that is where I live and because in recent years we have seen several fatal shootings, stabbings and punch-ups. There is a dark underbelly to Radford that occasionally leaks out to touch our everyday lives. In both versions the man is set upon by thieves, who strip him and leave him for dead. Nothing else is said about the ‘man’, his importance is only as a victim and recipient of care.
Next along come the passers-by. In the original they are religious leaders, a priest and a Levite, both of whom would have had serious concerns about being contaminated by spilled blood or possibly even by handling a corpse. Such contamination would make them unable to participate in the temple activities. I chose to interpret this as a priest and an MP, both pillars of the community who gain much from being seen doing and saying the right thing. In a modern context they have no concern about ritual uncleanliness but they do worry about being late or missing important appointments. This is not to say that all priests and MP’s are concerned about these things over and above the needs of a man lying bleeding in a gutter! In the biblical story a Samaritan is next. The Samaritans as has already been discussed were a despised and hated race. Jews and Samaritans did not mix in any social setting and the Samaritans had their own temple separate from the Jews. I chose a black youth dripping in bling, the social stereo-type rap/gangster type person. I could have chosen almost any marginalised and stigmatised social grouping, a Muslim or an alcoholic, or a homeless person or a person with Aids. The list could go on and on. When I was thinking about who to cast as ‘The Good …?’ I became increasingly aware of the number of people society casts as untouchable, undesirable, unlovable. Of course the groupings also depend on ones own point of view, each grouping will have different prejudices to another. Also interesting is those people I didn’t think could fit the role of ‘good’ anything, members of fascist groups for example.
In the original story the Samaritan binds the mans wounds using oil and water, puts him on an animal and books him in at the local Travel Inn, paying for his care and promising remuneration for any further spend. With modern healthcare this would be a strange thing to do so instead, our hero opts for dressing the blood soaked body of the man in his new and expensive coat and calling for an ambulance. The principal remains similar. Neither were unduly worried about contamination of any sort from being hands on in the nitty gritty of life’s horrors. In addition our hero stays with the man on his way to the hospital, buys him some necessities and leaves a contact number should the man require anything else. He returns the next day and continues to offer care and comfort.
I hope that in essence my modern day interpretation of ‘The Good Samaritan’ retains its original meanings and answers the questions of ‘Who is my neighbour?’ and ‘What is a neighbour?’. Who was a neighbour to the man? Not those whom one would expect to fulfil the role but an ‘other’. Someone different, some one marginalised, stereotyped and excluded, someone overlooked by society’s norms, someone – anyone who is prepared to bend down and meet us in our need, and we should do likewise.

References and Bibliography

Drane, John (1999) Introducing The New Testament Oxford, Lion Publishing Plc

Julicher, Adolf (1899) Die gleichnisreden Jesu IN Drane, John (1999) Introducing The New Testament Oxford, Lion Publishing Plc

Keesmaat, Sylvia C (2000) Strange Neighbours and Risky Care. IN Longenecker, Richard N (2000) The Challenge of Jesus’ Parables Wm. b. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Longenecker, Richard N (2000) The Challenge of Jesus’ Parables Wm. b. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Snodgrass, Klyne R (2000) From allegorizing to allegorizing: A history of the interpretation of the parables of Jesus IN Longenecker, Richard N (2000) The Challenge of Jesus’ Parables Wm. b. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Monday, 31 October 2005

Back after long absence!

Well, it is a very long time since I last posted anything on this blog. So what's been happening in the lives of the family Blog? ....

I have had a very healthy, bouncing baby girl weighing in at over 8lbs. Eleanor is now 5 1/2 months old and is adorable and very chatty!

Peter continues to do well although he has had some struggles. He is currently recovering from a bout of Glandular Fever and has managed to catch a cold on top. As a result he is very tired.
Peter continues to have therapy for his foot and hand. His walking has much improved and he is now attempting to jump and run. Peter is using his left hand more although his thumb still has a tendency to turn in.

It is an interesting experience to see the differences in the physical development of the little ones. Ellie is keen to be sitting up at five months whereas Peter showed little inclination until he was about eight months. With Peter being our first it took longer to cinvince professionals that his slowness was something more than natural variation. I knew there was something wrong but I guess they had me down as an over-anxious first-time mum.

Peter's hemiplegia though mild has become such a part of who he is. He is developing mannerisms associated with his condition that are so endearing. Of course it would be great if he did not have to face the challanges his hemiplegia brings but I can't help thinking I would miss his little ways if he could be cured tomorrow.

Wednesday, 19 October 2005

Baby Blogger - Hello again!

Well it's been ages since I last wrote anything - I am now walking, running and occasionally jumping although I haven't quite got the hang of the last bit yet!


Mummy had a little girl - so now I have a new sister. Mummy and Daddy says she is called Eleanor or Ellie but I just call her 'baby'. She is now 5 months old and she doesn't really do a lot - I'm not really sure what she is for but it's kind of funny when she smiles and makes funny noises at me.

I still have to wear a splint on my foot - I'm now on to my third one - it seems to help but sometimes my foot gets a bit sore.

I am supposed to wear a splint on my thumb to help me use it but I can take it off really quickly!

I spent a day and a half at the hospital at the beginning of the week. I have a lump in my neck and I have been feeling very tired. I had to have some blood taken, but it didn't hurt as they had put some magic cream on. Mummy and Daddy seemed quite worried and mentioned scary words like leukeamia and lymphoma. It turned out that I have had glandular fever so now I am allowed to sleep whenever I like!

Thursday, 10 February 2005

Baby Blogger - Splint


A couple of days ago I got my splint for my left leg/foot. It makes me look like a supercool cyber baby!! It keeps my ankle stiff so I can't roll my foot onto the side. It is supposed to help me too walk but I think it is just to scary to let go of the furniture - besides I can get about much quicker on my hands and knees!

Mummy is feeling much better and her tummy is getting bigger but less bouncy! I hope my little sister has enough room in there!

Daddy has been very busy but he's a bit calmer now. He takes me shopping - I like the trolly best!

Peter xx

Monday, 7 February 2005

And so to this....

Shane and I have been married for over 7 years and have two amazingly beautiful, wonderful children. In all our time together we have had few disagreements and no rows...... well until last night that is.

We went at it like professionals until we both felt like crap and nothing that was upsetting us was resolved. I don't know where it all came from but I didn't like it.

I guess a large part of the problem is that we are both so tired and only have so much energy to deal with issues and problems. By the time the kids are in bed we both seem to flop and curl up within ourselves to protect our inner selves from the crappiness of the outside world.

We managed to sort out a temporary truce that meant we could go to bed still believing in us. I guess at some point when we can be calm and rational we need to sort out a few things, have a chat, find each other amongst the business and the illness and the tiredness.

Shane if you ever read this - remember one thing - I love you with all of my being.

Friday, 4 February 2005

Baby Blogger - Update

Last week I went to the hospital to have my foot cast done for my leg splint. It was ok and they even gave me a bowl of water with bubbles to put my feet in afterwards. I cried when they took it away as I was having fun!!

I have been very tired this week as Mummy and Daddy have been busy/unwell - I had to go to nursery every day. It was great fun but I am tired now!!

I keep making mummy laugh with my funny faces and silliness!!

Baldricka is doing well. Sometimes when I put my head on mummy's tummy I can feel her moving around. She seems to wriggle a lot.

Peter XX

Tuesday, 18 January 2005

Baby Blogger - Urgh!

Just when mummy and daddy thought I was getting better I threw up all over their bed - twice - and in two different places!

I feel a bit better today but I'm not going to go to nursery .... maybe tomorrow if I'm ok today.

Mummy's belly is good to jump on but something in there keeps kicking back. Mummy says it's my little sister but I'm not convinced!

Peter xx

Monday, 17 January 2005

What a Week that Was!

Last week I started to get a pain in my chest just below my left boob. It got worse so on Monday I went to the doctor who prescribed Gaviscon. It didn't improve so on Tuesday morning I rang the Maternity unit. They told me to come in. After several hours and several tests they admitted me to the ward. More tests followed and the consultant seemed quite worried about my condition.

Eventually they had all but ruled out anything serious - although they couldn't quite rule out pulmonary embolism. I am therefore now on daily injections to thin my blood to sort out any clot. They allowed me home on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday my son was sent home early from nursery due to lethargy and high temperature. He was diagnosed with a throat infection. The high temperature made him vomit - a lot!

He is much better this morning but now my husband is feeling under the weather - hopefully it's just down to lack of sleep!

I am back at work but under instruction to take it easy - no running about. I still have the pain and the shortness of breath but I am ok as long as I don't overdo it.

Isn't life grand!

Baby Blogger - Difficult Week

I have had a very hard week. Mummy went away to a big place with lots of people - she had to stay there for a few days. Daddy says it was a hospital. I don't really know why she had to stay away - Daddy says she was poorly.

Anyway Mummy came home on Thursday and then on Friday I was sick and had a very hot head. I had to come home early from nursery. I just wanted to sleep and cuddle mummy. I was hot and tired all weekend. I don't think mummy or daddy gor much sleep.

Today daddy is feeling poorly too - I hope we don't have to go and stay where mummy was.

My baby sister is ok though - I like to bounce on mummy's big tummy - mummy doesn't like it much!!!

Peter xx

Friday, 7 January 2005

Baby Blogger - Sleeping

Well did I make my parents work hard last night!! I went to sleep ok at bedtime but then just when they had gone off to sleep I woke up! Daddy gave me a bottle of milk - yummy! - and then I want him to stay with me until I was asleep. Daddy and Mummy didn't stay but kept leaving me by myself so I kept them up for an hour or so before I finally went to sleep.

Mummy and Daddy were tired this morning and were late for work!!

Peter xx

Thursday, 6 January 2005

Baby Blogger

I am Peter. I am 18 months old. I live with mummy and daddy. I go to nursery and play with lots of other little people like me.

I have a left - sided hemiplegia which means my hand doesn't work properly and I am not quite walking yet. This doesn't bother me as I can get around really fast on my hands and knees.

My mummy is having another baby - it is a girl - this means I will have a little sister. I don't know where she is going to sleep as I am in the nursery! I hope she doesn't take up all of mummys time because I was here first!

I will post all my milestones and news so everyone can see how I and 'Baldricka the Bump' are getting on.

Peter xx