Happy Easter.

I woke up at 5.30 so rolled out of bed and dashed off to East Cowes for their dawn service – I was a wee bit late, but in time for communion and bacon sandwiches. They didn’t sing Thine Be The Glory which was a slight disappointment and the sun rise was hidden by the clouds but it was still brilliant to be on the beach at sunrise celebrating Easter Sunday with other Christians from the island.

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And our mantelpiece is transformed from the solitary bare cross to a vibrant fruitful display.

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After much debate and searching of the ethical consumer website we decided on a compromise of Thorntons eggs, Thornons came out better than most of the mainstream fairtrade chocolates. I was very pleased with my Attic 24 inspired Easter wreath.

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And our bare branched tree is now covered by crosses and eggs – the girls thought my moustachioed eggs were not in keeping with the Easter tree but I was very pleased with them!

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I haven’t managed a single blog post throughout Lent so now a quick round up.

Facebook:

For the 3rd year in a row I gave up facebook for Lent, this was surprisingly both much harder and much easier than previous years.

It was harder because I found that I use facebook in a different way to the last couple of years. I am using it much more to arrange things and to keep in touch with local friends and I realised part way through that a number of my local friends I only have facebook contacts for and it was very hard to connect with them in a practical way without. at one point I had to get one friend to contact a group of other friends to let them know about a meet up I was having as I didn’t have any other contact details. I also run a maths tutor group and I have a facebook page that I interact with them on – in the end for this I set up a different facebook persona so I could keep doing this group and felt this wasn’t cheating. In the last couple of weeks a friend was trying to keep a number of us updated with some important news and in the end I joined this group with my second persona as I felt keeping up to date on this issue was more important than my facebook fast a case of “the Sabbath being made for man not man for the Sabbath!” I don’t think I will do this again next year as I actually found it very hard to practically contact people without facebook, particularly in a group setting.

It was easier because I found I didn’t miss sitting at my computer wasting time on it as much as I had in previous years. I think this was due to my increased interest in crochet and zentangling as well as connecting with my other Lent discipline.

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Living Intentionally:

I decided to try this for a second year, to not specifically take up or give up something but rather to try and live as I intend rather than what just happens to happen to me. Some time ago I read a book by Michael Neill called You Can Have What You Want. This was really the first specific self help book I had read as I had been rather snooty about the genre as the people I saw reading them seemed to jump from one to the next and never actually changed – I have now become one of these people – I love self help books. The main thing I took from this book was the concept of “do what you want not what you feel like” and this is what my living intentionally is about – doing what I really want to do not what I feel like doing at the time. This has worked in some ways and not others, I have been trying to keep on top of things at home by making sure that everything gets put away when they are finished with, doing the last of the dishes before going to bed. these things were very successful for the first 4 weeks and then suddenly seemed to get much much harder for the last 2. I have tried to meditate more – this worked well for the the first couple of weeks but then rather went by the wayside! So I have definitely been more thoughtful about how I’m living but sometimes i haven’t let my actions follow my thoughts.

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Family Stuff:

We decorated eggs – keeping it simple this year with shapies

We’ve done our family beans again. We get a dried bean for every good deed done and on Easter Sunday they are transformed to jelly beans, This year we also gave bravery beans and achievement beans.

The girls have done 40 acts again and Jonathan, Martin and I have been doing the Love Life Live Lent booklets again. The girls did well and were fairly consistent, Martin and I were rubbish at doing ours and Jonathan has been trying to do about 3 weeks worth of activities on Easter Saturday!

I tried to do Lent candles with the the family as suggested by Sacraparental but this hasn’t really been adopted by us as a family in the same way as our advent candle and readings – perhaps because it isn’t dark or just perhaps because it is getting a little late in the day to start new traditions with the kids.

We also managed a Learning Zone Easter egg hunt.

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Rebekah is clearly getting indoctrinated by me. She suggested on Good Friday that we lit a candle for each of the 7 last saying of Jesus which we did while listening to At The Foot of The Cross on Radio 2

Church Stuff:

We took the palm Sunday service at church and I was scheduled to preach on the cross – you can listen here if you have 20 minutes with nothing better to do! This gave me a good excuse to give out palm crosses. We also took a meditation service on Good Friday – this has become a tradition for us now and every year our congregation grows – it’s a chance to be quiet and reflect – I love doing this.

Jonathan and Rebekah did the Good Friday walk of witness through Newport and the rest of us stayed at the church and prepared teas and hot cross buns.

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Baking:

We usually make an edible Easter garden but this year we have made hot cross buns, Easter biscuits, nests and a simnel cake.

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I have been think a lot about happiness recently – at some point I expect I’ll get round to blogging about it. But for now I have been thinking about things that make me happy right now, today. There is so much.

Because we are having a new bed made in Ruth’s room there were a pile of mattresses in the middle of the living room floor – I leapt on them and had a bit of a bounce, Martin joined me :-) Then Jonathan had a go and Rebekah also couldn’t resist

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Then the kids were heading out to various places and I needed to do the dishes so I found a radio 4 murder play and listened while I happily did the dishes and cleaned the window and window ledge in the kitchen.

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And the sunshine was glorious – even have a little washing on the line.

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A good walk out through the park to Gurnard

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and some time spent watching some of my friends doing some Morris dancing in their troop Moonshine along with The Oyster Girls.

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A few weeks ago Jonathan was baptised at West Wight Pool. He wanted to do it inside (not in the sea) and when he could swim. So this was the opportunity.

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The church hired the pool for an hour and we started with a quick swim as everyone came in, then we had about 8 baptisms, children, teens and adults.

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Making his statements of faith:

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ready to go under:

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back up again:

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We had some friends and family joining us which was lovely – Jonathan particularly wanted to give his grandfather a big hug!

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And then there was more swimming afterwards followed by some time spent down at the church. We had to rush off afterwards as we had Burns’ Night celebrating to do as well :-)

Once again I am very behind with my blogging.

A couple of weeks ago we hopped on the ferry for a very brief trip to London. We managed to go on a lovely calm day in the midst of all the recent storminess.

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We were hurrying over to go to my mum’s 70th birthday celebrations. My sister had organised a party for her and we decided we would surprise mum by turning up at the last minute.

We only arrived slightly before my mum did, so only managed to do a little to help. Jane and Jonathan with help from Michelle had done almost everything fantastically by the time we arrived.

We managed to help out a little in the kitchen though:

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Jane seems to be a little frustrated with me and Ruth nibbles a naughty bit of lettuce!

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The food looks great as it always does when Jonathan and Jane make it.

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The room was well decorated too.

 

 

 

 

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Mum started off the evening in character with a nice cup of tea.

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She had lots of her friends around her to celebrate.

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Mum seemed to be having a good laugh with us too.

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It looks like mum had a happy birthday

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Our Christmas Days tend to follow a standard pattern each year.

1. Stockings – in our bed.

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we all had to make something home-made and i was really pleased that the minion wrisites I had made went down well!

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2. Then it’s off to church, relatively early as we usually do the music and open up the church on Christmas Morning – great time, everyone was in good voice so the singing went well.

3. Back home and a starter of dips, veggie sticks and crisps and a glass of bucks fizz.

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4. Time to open presents.

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5. Time to prepare the dinner and play a game while it cooks.

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6. Dinnertime – not a traditional turkey roast but toad-in-the-hole with cauliflower cheese and roast potatoes!

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7. More games – Rebekah was delighted and some what surprised to win a game of Blokus and think we all won a various games of Articulate.

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8. then some cheese and crackers and settling down to watch Doctor Who on the iplayer

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Christmas Eve didn’t start too well for us – we had storms the night before and this was the view over our garden:

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Four fence panels broken, but I know we are lucky compared to some of our friends who have flooding.

The view inside was much more attractive:

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We had a relaxed morning, then spent the afternoon listening to Carols From King’s preparing the vegetables for Christmas dinner and even managing to persuade Rebekah to do a little bit of crafting.

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A quick dinner and then one of our most important Christmas traditions watching, the best version of A Christmas Carol, The Muppets.

Martin, Jonathan and I then went to a friend’s party for nibbles and cocktails, then back home so everyone can get in bed before Santa comes to visit. This year we gave Santa a hand and did a secret Santa of stockings, but he was coming round to check we had done everything properly so we left out something to eat and drink for him and the reindeer!

We’ve just had our family Christmas with Susan’s half of the family. We watched the Wizard Of Oz together yesterday. Today we had allocated to spend:

exchanging presents.

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eating Christmas dinner expertly and deliciously cooked for us by Jonathan and Jane, a full turkey dinner and lovely pudding too!

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and playing Pitt (we’d borrowed it ages ago and it seemed like a sensible time to have an excuse to shout at each other lots!) and generally having a good time together.

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Even once everyone had gone we were still having a lovely time listening to Christmas radio programs and chilling out – what a lovely weekend!

Ruth and Jonathan have been working hard at Wight Stars this term. This afternoon we watched the Wizard of Oz with Ruth playing Glinda and Jonathan being a very posh tree and an Oz man.

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It was a great performance by all the cast and Ruth did brilliantly to overcome her mic cutting out.

I’ve had a great day.

I went on a walk with Martin to work and instead of just rushing back I went down to the sea and just stood and watched for a while, peaceful and beautiful.

Then we got the pre-Christmas cleaning up done – all the children joined in and so did Caleb who, unfortunately for him, was around to help out!

We had a bit of time to spend making a few decorations and some gingerbread trees and snowmen followed by a quick spot of lunch.

Then we had friends over to decorate gingerbread houses. Jonathan made a gingerbread camp site complete with a fire and an abominable snowman. Val was quite sure we had made a brilliant gingerbread city. There were a lot more sweets at the start than managed to end up on the houses!

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I also got some mulled apple juice going , non-alcoholic but with a little kick from some Rochester dark ginger drink  and while the icing was setting (we used Mary Berry’s royal icing method and it was brilliant) we made some decorative stars.

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