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’m still catching up on blogging so despite the fact we are half way through August I’m still blogging about June!

This year was the first year for ages that none of us was working at the Isle of Wight Festival some of us are usually volunteering for Gift To Nature, so this year we spent the whole time at church where we have our own fringe festival.

We do free tea, cake, hot dogs

  

 

and most importantly of all phone charging and free wi-fi.

  

We also do some entertainment of our own too.

  

  

  

We also gave out lots of God Loves Me wrist bands (we are sometimes known as the God Loves You church because of our sign outside that people can have their name added to) and had a graffiti wall.

  

  

I love festival weekend at church because to my mind it’s what we should be about – loving people without strings.

 For many people we are just a chance to get a freebie and that’s fine but for many we are more than that. For exhausted festival workers we can be a place they can have a chat and a cuppa away from work stress, for those who’ve had their hours cut we can be a place to moan about it and to get something free to eat and drink that they can now ill afford, we have dealt with distraught people who have lost tickets etc. and managed to print them off for them with little stress and no cost, we have provided a listening ear and a smile along with a cuppa and a chance to charge up a phone. We have been a home from home for people who have no church connection but have come back everyday of the festival because they felt welcomed and loved – and so much more.

Festival weekend is one of the reasons I love my church.

A few of the other things we have managed to do this December have been:

Watching the amazing Bloodstone at Jubilee Stores (we even persuaded Jamie to come and watch Morris dancing :-))

 

 

Cookie Exchange:

 

The Learning Zone Christmas Party:

  

Family Christmas time:

  

  

 

I got a text from Rebekah last night (she was at festival and I was at home making chicken curry). She said “My knitted socks are the best things!! My feet are the only warm dry part of me!:)

Nice to feel appreciated.

Jonathan and I got soaked coming home from the festival early but the girls stayed until the evening – things definitely got muddier!

So yesterday was world wide knit in public day. I was at the Isle of Wight Festival (volunteering for Gift to Nature) so managed to knit pretty publicly there, not in front of the main-stage though but in the much more intimate venue the Kashmir Cafe. So here I am watching my friend Mick Watson play some lovely but rather wrist slitting songs (definitely seems to be my preferred genre) and knitting my sock (this is the one I had to completely frog as I had made it far to tight due to knitting it following the pattern for the wrong ply – DOH!)