Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Final post

After considering the matter for a long time, I now sadly acknowledge that the time has come to lay this blog down. I have not been well enough to blog here or on my Doodles blog since last December.

My faith is unshaken. It is so much a part of me that I could not imagine what my life would be like without it. But for now, my thoughts must remain private ones.

Thank you for reading and replying to my posts, and holding me in the Light. It means so much to me.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Here we go again

Sorry, gentle reader - no entry at all last week and not much this week. I'm a bit under the weather again, but I'm sure it will pass. I'll be back after Christmas.

Have a good holiday, however you celebrate!

Monday, 30 November 2009


It's easy to forget to be thankful every day, and having a special day to say thanks - even if it isn't my own country's tradition - seems such a wonderful idea.

This year I am thankful for my faith, which permeates my whole life, even when I am feeling as though I am not being 'Quakerly'.

I am thankful for the new friends I have made, and for the old ones I have kept.

I am thankful, as always, for the roof over my head, the food on my table, the plumbing in my house, the health service, the electricity supply.....

I am thankful for my family, and that, despite the times when we thought we were going to lose family members, we are all still here again.

I am thankful for my broadening musical and literary taste, and that I have now discovered the beauty and strength of Tennyson, Arvo Part, Benjamin Britten, Philip Larkin and Henning Mankell.

I am thankful for the internet allowing me to socialise, worship, shop and stay independent in so many ways.

Happy - if belated - Thanksgiving.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Simple Living

This article was brought to my attention a couple of days ago. Journalist Liz Jones, of the UK Daily Mail, attempted a week on unemployment benefits:


I was delighted that she seemed to get so much from the experiment, but astonished by her lifestyle prior to it. I can't imagine having that much debt on top of a mortgage.

If the economic problems help people realise how much they are spending on inessentials, then it will have been a good thing.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Explaining God

I re-post this blog on three other websites, and from last week's entry I have had a number of responses, all asking me to clarify what I meant in my description of how I see God. I still don't have the mental energy for replying to each one individually, so I am putting my reply into this blog post, and I hope it will explain what I mean.

Firstly, I have for a long time been a kind of Unitarian. The way I understand the Trinity is that, just as I am simultaneously mother, daughter and friend, depending on who I am interacting with, so God is simultaneously Father, Son and Comforter in one Being.

I also believe that God is the ultimate Truth, beyond and above time. Whenever someone finds Truth in their hearts and minds, that Truth is of God. That person might say the Truth has been given to them by any one of a number of names - Yahweh, Allah, conscience, Inward Light, Jesus, Buddha, or a bolt from the blue - but Truth is Truth and is indivisible.

We all listen for Truth in our Meeting for Worship. In that context, I don't mind whether you say that you are listening to God, Mother Earth or the Flying Spaghetti Monster - your name for that Truth does not alter the fact of it being Truth.

Our names for whatever reveals the Truth to us are ultimately completely arbitrary, and depend on our upbringing, beliefs and world view. This is why I say that I believe everyone is listening to the Christian God - but if I were Jewish, I would probably believe that we are all ultimately listening to YHWH.

The point is, the names don't matter. They get in the way of our understanding that we are all listening to the one Truth. And this is why I say that Quaker worship is the best chance for peace between the world religions, and between believers and non-believers - because in silence, we are all listening to the same Truth, and we're not upsetting each other and causing rifts by using different names for that Truth.

This is the Truth as revealed to me, and I hope I have been faithful in my description of it.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Quaker Quest: Quaker Worship

I thought it might be interesting for people to see what I said at Quaker Quest about Quaker Worship.

We three speakers had to speak twice during the evening, once on Faith and once on Practice - broadly, what we believe and what we do.

In the Faith section, I started by saying I love Quaker worship because it is unique. I came to Quakers because of the worship - I used to be an Anglican, and then a Methodist, and in both denominations I used to feel that I was just settling into the time for silent prayer when it would be time to sing another hymn.

Another reason I appreciate the Quaker way of worship is that I am rabbiting on to God all day in my head, and it gives me a chance to sit and listen for a change! I also explained that I don't mind what other people say they're listening to - God, Yahweh, Allah, the Earth, their own conscience - as I believe those are all names for the same thing : Truth. I believe that Truth comes from the Christian God, and, if pushed, I would say that all other believers (and non-believers) are listening to Him/Her too - they just have other names for Him/Her.

Because we are all listening together, with no words to cause divisions, Quaker worship brings people together in a way that no other type of worship can. We may not agree on the words to use in worship, but we can all listen together in silence. It can also be a very healing time for people who have had bad experiences in more traditional churches.

Later I spoke to the idea of the practice of Quaker worship, although to be honest my ideas were pretty well entwined between the two parts! I explained that a Meeting for Worship is not like a dentist's waiting room, with a whole load of disparate people sat in silence - there is a palpable air of expectancy and of a gathered community. I always get very excited when there is ministry, as you never know what is going to be said, and whether it will be pertinent to you, or even to the whole Meeting. I also explained about online Meetings for Worship at Quaker Faith and Fellowship, which no one else in my Meeting has experienced; and about the smaller MfW held at my home every month, and how it has a different atmosphere, more intimate than the weekly MfW at the Meeting House.

We had a lot of questions about how you know when you are supposed to give ministry, why we don't discuss ministry when it is given, and how to settle into the silence and prepare our hearts and minds. The room was about three quarters current members/attenders and one quarter new visitors, with between 40 and 50 attending in total. Everyone said they had got something from it, no matter how long they had been a Quaker - we so rarely discuss the finer points of our beliefs that it was interesting to hear what different people actually thought.

If your Meeting is considering running a Quaker Quest, I strongly recommend it. There is a certain amount of work in setting the course up, but it benefits everyone who attends (including the speakers!) so much, that it is well worth it.

Monday, 2 November 2009

What a month!!

Well, October turned out to be the most stressful month I've had for ages. Unfortunately nice stress tires me out as much as nasty stress, so even the good stuff just made me more tired. It has been one of those times when everything that could happen, did happen - and I ended up not getting a proper afternoon rest till almost the end of the month (instead of almost every afternoon), which meant my night-time sleep was disturbed, too.

That meant I began having nightmares. Initially they were things like still being married to my alcoholic ex, but eventually they morphed into the standard scary monster nightmare. (One was that Daleks had invaded Earth - and banned knitting!!!! Terrifying....)

To give you an idea of what I mean, this all happened between October 1 and October 27:

1 theatre trip
1 trip to Quaker Quest - on the same day Richard was out all day,
travelling to Manchester and back to the funeral of one of his uni
housemates. It wasn't a good month for him, either.
4 visits from friends
3 visits from Richard's grandfather, who is very difficult to talk to
1 visit from both his grandparents
1 visit from Mum and my sister
3 visits from new carers
1 5-hour excursion to A&E at the eye hospital - I'm OK, so don't
worry, but apparently I'm starting to get cataracts :(
1 Quaker Meeting here
1 newsletter to write and send round, during which....
Our Broadband started falling over for hours at a time
1 failed delivery of necessary medical stuff
1 delivery of oxygen canisters
1 visit from Social Services
1 visit from a care company team leader
1 visit from the other care company's admin assistant (1.5 hours)
1 service of my oxygen machine
1 visit from the GP
2 visits from the District Nurse
1 blood test
1 flu jab (different day from the blood test)
1 visit from the Access Bus team to make sure my wheelchair will fit
on their minibus (then I can go shopping occasionally!)
....and then the clocks changed and completely mucked up my body clock, as usual....

As you see, it was a fun time :)

I'm not complaining one bit about the nice stuff - ever since I first got ill, I've had the view that nice stuff is worth recuperating from! But every day seemed to bring a fresh reason why I couldn't have a rest, and by the end of last weekend I was feeling quite desperate.

I'm happy to say that I have now had a week asleep, and I feel much better, so I hope to be a much better blogger again now.

Next week - what I actually said at Quaker Quest.