A Room with a View

The conservatory, my favourite room in the whole house!   There is no TV only my iPod loaded with my favourite music for when I‘m in the mood to listen, but mostly I like it quiet …. apart from the hum of my sewing machine that is!

One of the things I like best about it is the view ….. we look out over fields where cows graze and swallows swoop and buzzards soar gracefully overhead, and in the evening bats negotiate the gathering gloom with their high pitched squeals.   I’ve seen rabbits, foxes, deer and the occasional toad out there, not to mention  clouds of our famous tiny terrors …. the midgies!

I guess its not the most spectacular field to be honest but the view is never dull, it changes all the time with the weather and the seasons and the time of day.   The sun bursts over the horizon in the early morning and bathes the hills with gold in the evening.   I never tire of it.   When we first moved to this house it took us months before it sunk in that this was home, we would sit out in the garden and feel as if we were on holiday afraid that we would have to pack up and head home any day.

I’m touched and amazed by it’s simple beauty and the way that it draws me to God, I always feel closer to God when I’m outside for some reason and in my conservatory I feel as if I’m outside …. but I’m warm and dry and in Scotland that’s a bonus!    Even in the winter I like to sit out there and I even find the sound of the rain drumming on the roof comforting.

I tend to think of it as my space, the rest of the family also use it but its my favourite place, where I can turn down the volume on the distractions of everyday life.

It is I suppose my ‘God space’, where I can just ‘be‘ and be quiet and listen …..everyone should have one.  Where’s yours?

This is my view ….. all these photos were taken from the conservatory door at varying times of the day and year.      Cumulus Clouds in summer      Sun and storm clouds gathering

Late autumn

The cat is in charge !

Early morning in winter

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Compassion Delivers

I know that Compassion is an organisation with great integrity and I was really happy to see this post written by a fellow blogger, especailly as Justin Dowds and LemonAid are only a few miles away from us here in Scotland…..

Sheep Droppings

After touring the old hospital we got to see the new one under construction.  Julian took us through the building, explaining several things along the way.  First he explained where the funding came from and I was surprised — Compassion UK and a partner called LemonAid.  Then he told us how Compassion got involved.  He said that a man named Justin Dowds of Scotland had sponsored a child on La Gonave through Compassion, then came to see for himself whether Compassion delivered on all their promises or not.  He discovered that Compassion did, indeed, deliver in every area — spiritually, socially, financially, physically.  The only area that was falling short for the community was the condition of the hospital, so he decided to raise funds to build a new one.  Everything was arranged through Compassion UK and the project began.  I noticed this sign earlier in the dining room…

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Spring Clean!!!

Well I know its not exactly spring but my excuse is that despite the fact that its now half way through what is theoretically called summer, I’ve been hanging back waiting for spring to make an appearance  before I started …    besides it must be spring somewhere on the planet …  right?

Anyway,  this spring cleaning spree consisted of me clearing out kitchen cupboards, largely because forays into the kitchen by various family members were followed by a plaintive voices asking “where are the ______?” (fill in the blanks).    So Mum decided (why is it always Mum?) that it was time to sort out said cupboards!

As I sit here I have to tell you I am sorely embarrassed …. actually embarrassment doesn’t come close … I feel quite ashamed really.   Now don’t get the wrong idea,  my cupboards probably aren’t any worse than a lot of other peoples.   But you know how it is,  you are at the supermarket and you think  ‘did I need salt/flour/ peanut butter …   whatever’  you can’t remember so you get another one … just in case and before you know it your cupboards are bulging.

I am ashamed to say that I had to dispose of 16 assorted jars and bottles which were nowhere near  empty  but which were in fact, well past their ‘use by’ dates.    I at least emptied the contents out and recycled the bottles and jars but I guess this just shows that I’m not very good at managing stock!

Food waste is a bit of a hot topic at the moment I suppose but the thing that really struck me today was how easy it is for us to waste food.  We are not going to go hungry because I threw out some old jars of assorted foods.    But I started to wonder what the families of my sponsored kids would think if they went through the contents of my rubbish bin,  how embarrassing would that be!

The real problem though is not the ‘use by dates’ its the fact that I obviously buy too much food, so much that we can’t use it up before it goes off.    Most of the time I think I’m reasonably organised,   I try to plan our meals for the week ahead and make out my shopping list accordingly but still I throw food away and judging from the amount of coverage the topic gets I’m not alone.

There are lots of reasons for this, our shopping habits that encourage us to load our trolleys til we can hardly push them, busy schedules and a super abundance of varied and delicious food on special offer that entices us to buy more than we need.

My challenge is to find a way to do things differently, to resist the advertising and hype about the newest greatest product and to make different choices …… I need to try to change and I think its going to be an uphill struggle but as my Dad used to say anything worth doing is never easy!

Our Compassion Story

I first sponsored a child with Compassion just over 10 years ago at an Ian White concert ( Ian is  a Scottish Christian singer and an Ambassador for Compassion).   Our first little girl was called Vicki and she was from Columbia, we sponsored her for around 5 years before she left the programme.    At the time I wasn’t much of a sponsor really, we sent the money and I wrote occasionally, I did send some photos and stickers but I didn’t really understand how important the letters were.    When we lost Vicki we chose another little girl but this time from Rwanda her name was Perajia, unfortunately we only sponsored her for around 18 months due to our circumstances at the time, let me explain ….

A few years ago my husband was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis and then about 5 years ago he had a heart attack and  while he was waiting for me to pick him up on his  discharge  from hospital he had  a cardiac arrest!   We know he is very lucky to be alive and truly believe God had his hand on him at that time.   However, he was not able to return to work after this and things  became very difficult financially and despite being very unhappy about it we felt we had to stop our sponsorship at this time.

That was late in 2009 and although things have not been easy I can look back and know that God has kept us.   I really wanted to sponsor another child but having already had to drop our sponsorship once we felt we should wait and pray before we started again, I felt really bad about letting Perajia down and didn’t want to do it to another child.

Fast forward to last summer …… money was still tight and we had no plans for a holiday but I had a couple of weeks booked off work just to do stuff around the house.    I spotted a post on facebook from Compassion UK asking for  people to come and help at CLAN Gathering   (a Christian conference in Scotland)  for one of the weeks I had off work.    I spoke to my husband and he was up for it.    I then contacted Compassion thinking that loads of people would have offered, but no, they were delighted for us to come, and we also arranged for our daughter to come as well.

We  had a fantastic time  at CLAN working with a great team and got bitten by the Compassion ‘bug’ good and proper!!    I was still anxious about our  finances but my heart was captured by little Yasumi from Peru and I felt God telling me that the time was right to sponsor again.    Our  daughter  Shona who is a student nurse also couldn’t resist, and she sponsored a little girl herself called Lixy from Honduras.   When we got home Shona and I decided that we had so enjoyed working with Compassion that we would apply to become Advocates because we wanted to do more.

We have been to quite a few events in the past year and never fail to be thrilled when we can engage people in conversation and even more so when  they decide to sponsor a child.    We have since added two more children to our growing family of Compassion kids, Osmar and Linda, both from Bolivia and we also have a correspondence child, Christine from Uganda.

God is amazing, our circumstances haven’t actually changed but He has changed our hearts.  He has shown us that although in comparison to many in our Western culture we are certainly not rich materially we do however have everything we need and more.   Sponsoring is not just about the money, it is necessary of course because it provides the resources that the children need but much more than that, as a sponsor you have the opportunity to speak love and hope into the life of child.  A child who lives in a culture where grinding poverty destroys hope and love and dreams for the future.   We may not be rich in the eyes of  our culture but we are  millionaires in the bank of  hope and love.

An ordinary day…

Today is a new day in my faith journey, a day not that much different to many others, I went to work, picked up shopping on the way home, washed dishes, chatted with the family and this evening had a cuppa with a friend and that’s the point when an ordinary day became extraordinary.   You see, my friend and I are both on a journey, the same faith journey actually, well its the same but God takes us to different places because we are very different people….  both of us are looking for the same thing ….  becoming closer to God.

It’s true that sometimes when we are heading for the same destination as others we don’t always meet on the road because we start from different places at different times, we take different routes. we stop at different scenic points and are persuaded to take different detours.  But today my friend and I met in a mutual place,  we are both reading a book called ‘The Sacred Romance’  (Brent Curtis and John Eldredge) the book is an invitation to leave behind the falseness of our over-busy lives and explore the deepest longings of our hearts.  I feel as if I’m on the edge of the most important discovery mankind (or at least my small corner of mankind)  has ever made.   It feels like coming home and smelling an amazing dinner cooking,  you haven’t yet tasted it but you just know its going to be great and I can’t wait to tuck in!

Hello world!

Finally I have my blog up and running, this has been on my mind for a very long time but it seemed so complicated, choosing a name (that no-one else has already picked), deciding on a theme, the colour etc etc …. mind boggling!  So today I’ve taken the plunge, I’m sure some days I will have plenty to say and other days there will be silence, so bear with me.

I’m blogging for a reason,  a few reasons actually, I want to do something about the desperate poverty in our world, I want to share how we can change the story for some of the poorest children in our world, I want to use the gifts and talents I have to make a difference.  So … I will be blogging about all sorts of things, showcasing the craft items that I make and encouraging you to think about sponsoring a child through Compassion.

This is an exciting new part of the journey for me …. please join me

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