Monday, 18 May 2009

And so it begins

Life is springing up around our house and I am still fighting a losing battle for workspace on my desk as the seeds begin to sprout and need potting on. The good news is that at last some of the plants can be put outside or rather they could go out most days, one day was so cold I didn't dare put them out, otherwise the poor little things would have frozen. Winter hasn't quite finished yet even if it is only in the cold breeze which felt like it had made a quick detour around Siberia before reaching us. One thing we were surprised at is that anything survived under the two foot of snow over winter but we have been able to get our first harvest of the year Swiss Chard and swede (rutabaga) leaves which tastes like Spring greens. The swedes had been nibbled on by the deer over winter but as soon as the snow disappeared so did the deer and therefore the swedes recovered and started sprouting, couldn't say the same for the cabbage which were reduced to stalks. Our marjoram and parsley has also recovered and doing well, so that is encouraging for next year. Although it feels like winter has not quite lost its grip on us the sun takes a long time to go down now and it is very light even at 10 pm as you can see from the photos. I woke up in the middle of the night this week and it said 3:50 am on the clock but the day was certainly beginning as there was a glimmer of light outside. 

A bit random I know (so is this picture - a stick eaten by bugs found in Cyprus still on my camera several months later) but I thought I would tell you about shopping here in Latvia as it is not quite like shopping in the UK or the US where there is a huge range of things to choose from. We found the same problem in Denmark where we lived for 3 years being small countries (Denmark 5m & Latvia 2.3m population) they just do not have the range of stuff available - you might be able to order it but you can't really go and see it and buy it there and then. The range was improving quite rapidly early on last year here in Latvia, each time we went to any builders merchants there was always something different but that was last year. The crash happened and suddenly things started disappearing from the shelves as they weren't restocked, don't get me wrong there is still far more in the shops than when we first came in 2000 but it is just not as much as there was 6 months ago. The problem is with the limited range of things it makes shopping difficult to plan and sometimes you have to impulse buy, if you see it and think it might possibly come in useful or you may need it sometime - get it! You might never see it again or when you actually do need it it won't be there, it makes shopping an opportunistic exercise and not a planned expedition. Strange what Denmark prepared us for!

I was thinking about whether to go more newsy or whether to carry on with my thoughts etc in the way I do, and decided both are a part of me. I think.... I think a lot and it weaves in with what I do and where I go. I mull things around in my mind, chew on them and try to see things from different angles. I want to know about how the world works, I want to understand why it is the way it is and how it can be changed, I want to know what God's perspective is on it all. I was getting really annoyed with a paper I had to read for my course, my thoughts were more along the lines of "what is wrong with the guy" and "what's his problem" and "why is this paper in the list of readings I have to do?" It hit me at some point as I tried to mull it over that he was doing for Development Management what Ian and I are mulling over regarding the whole idea of church, trying to look at every aspect of it and say "is this bit right?", "why do we do that?" and "is there good reason for doing that?" At times it can seem pedantic and sometimes it seems destructive but then again so many things have been built into the church that doesn't need to be there so unless you critique things you will not acknowledge the problems. Ignoring the value of critiquing is like burying your head in the sand and pretending everything is fine. The problem with critiquing though is it does not help on its own to advance the practical positive actions we can take. More of that later!

One blog struck me this week which was about non-invasive native and invasive non-native species in the garden and relating those to our own lives and how our wilderness years (we all have them it is part and parcel of faith) determines what we think is important in our lives. The non-native species that we bring in can take a lot of work, they might look good but can take over. It struck me that our programmes and projects taken from one country and tried out in the church life of another country can be like invasive non-native species, all show and requiring a lot of work whereas we are meant to be discovering the native species that thrive well and bring those into the church life, something indigenous to the country we are in. They might not be as exciting at first but God is the gardener and has designed our planet to reflect his glory in different ways in different parts of the world and when we get in the flow of that it will look good and work well.

I was talking earlier about practical positive actions, well I have decided that I will take some positive action this week and see where it all goes. Each day this week I am going to post a thank you or a praise or something that inspires me and you can join me in this by posting your own comment if you would like to.

So the journey begins! (A comment I wrote in my personal journal this week, no idea what or where but just such a sense of something starting).

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