Monday, 26 January 2009


This was the headline which greeted me on one of my perusals of the net.

"Chorley hit by snow storms
Heavy snow hit parts of Chorley today as temperatures dropped to freezing.

The wintry blast struck at about 1pm and it was still snowing at 2.15pm.

The snow was up to two inches deep on some cars but hadn't settled on the ground."

I nearly died laughing. Having spent two years in 
Colorado where one snow storm deposited three foot of snow in 24 hours and this winter in Latvia a snow storm deposited two foot of snow in 48 hours, a heavy snow storm is not something that drops 2 inches in just over an hour if it doesn't leave anything on the ground. Chorley by the way is where I used to live between the ages of 7-18 years old and I have to admit that I only really remember one instance of 4 inches of snow lying on the ground for longer than a day and one unseasonally late snow arriving when my parents were driving back from somewhere, so snow is fairly rare, poor things! 

Another perusal on the net was much more sobering, there has been a lot of different reports on the riots in Latvia as well as elsewhere  and a Greek psychology 
professor had this to say about the Athens riots

"There is a shared shock that the good times have gone. “The explosion conceals a compressed desperation. Many young people live with the unbearable knowledge that there is no future.”

What a dreadful thing to say! How hopeless! But how many people think like that? Fortunately I don't think that is God's perspective at all and one of my favourite verses in the Bible is:-

Jeremiah 29:11 (New International Version)

11 For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

That gives me hope as God has never let me down. He may have taken me down some routes I would perhaps have not chosen but he knew the way and the path that was best for me. Even now I am confident that he has it all in hand. I really do not have much more than the occasional inkling as to what God has got planned, and I am not even sure what slight impressions I have are right but I do know that God will reveal the next step in the necessary detail when he needs to and not before. 

As some of you may remember I am studying with the Open University at the moment (still loving it by the way), when I was reading how some people in the Christian Fellowhip forum were feeling rather depressed and it reminded me of a poem I wrote a while ago. I have shared it with a few people before but the time seems right to share it further afield. If you like it or feel it might be helpful to anyone then you are more than welcome to download it. 

The Winter of the Soul

The Winter of the soul is the time
when those sudden bursts of sunshine
seem all the more welcome
than the relentless summer sun.

Where the snow glistens like diamonds
reminding us of the richness and abundance of God
even in the barren times.

Where the trees in our life
are pared back to the essentials
from which new abundant life will spring.

The Winter of the soul is a watching, waiting time
pregnant with the promise of Spring
hidden but growing
until the right time

Don’t mourn the loss of the sun
Don’t mourn the loss of the green
But watch and wait
for the unfolding of God’s promises
in their proper seasons.

Those last two sentences resonated with me once again, God will unfold his promise at the right time, not before as it could kill the plan like the frosts can kill the first buds of spring butI can be confident that just like the seasons will continue his promises will unfold, it is just a matter of waiting for the right time.

Well this week our kitchen is still not finished and even as I write the guys are working and it is 7:20pm. I almost feel like writing in capitals so I can be heard over the occasional noise of their gadgets. It has been a puzzling experience at times as cultural differences rise up and strike in surprising places. What is standard? Well standard is standard at the place you are in and maybe not where you have come from. Two of our kitchen wall cupboards were hung earlier on this week while we were out and it is not until they were up when the truth dawned that the standard 60cm from worktop to cupboard is not standard in England nor is it standard in America, well not where we were living. Maybe it is standard for Latvians and some are quite tall and most are taller than me, not that that is difficult but the cupboards were just too high for me to really reach beyond the first shelf. Various solutions were suggested, step stool - awkward to cart about, footstool - fiddly to keep moving about, stilts - bit tricky when carrying hot pans and the most ingenious solution of all, offered by our friend Steve, a pull out base board to stand on that could be kicked back in place. In the end we had to have the cupboards dropped by 10cm so I have at least two usable shelves - which is normal for me, anything above that I have to accept needs a step stool. We used to have a phrase in our family and I can't remember where it came from, but we used to say "never make assumptions; assumptions get you into trouble" and when you start moving about you have to assume nothing, even if you think you are speaking the same language. You would think we have learnt that by now, but no we forgot. Well when it is all done and dusted we will sit down and work out the lessons we need to learn from this, and when we get the order in for the kitchen for the other flat, we won't be making any assumptions and we will be drawing up a far more detailed plan - just hope it works and we haven't made any more assumptions!

Since we haven't taken any pictures this week, I thought I would put up some suitably wintry photos from our time in Denmark. Would have liked to have taken a picture tonight as we saw a deer feeding in the garden, we stood for ages watching each other but the deer didn't seem unduly worried by our presence but I think the flash of a camera would have been a different matter.


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