Too heavy

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When I used to work for the (then) Electricity Supply Authority many years ago amongst the things I learnt to do was how to shift heavy objects without injuring myself. Sounds common sense but it isn’t. There are many instances where the correct approach is essential not only to prevent accidental injury but to ensure whatever equipment being moved isn’t damaged too. Some of the things we were asked to manoeuvre were very heavy indeed, large transformers and heavy-duty switch gear for example. It is all about technique and methodology, doing things the correct way make the operation not only safe but efficient and it gets done quicker. Since those days I moved to another employer and found those skills very useful for although I may not have been moving extremely heavy equipment there were still large pieces of equipment which needed to be moved on occasion. When I became self-employed there was little need for me to be involved in moving heavy things about. However throughout my adult life I have had occasionally to move large things at home and have never had problems because I always apply those skills I was taught so many years ago. There are times though when assistance from someone else is needed, not always because the items are too heavy but because they are awkwardly shaped or cannot be easily dismantled and re-assembled. A few years ago I had purchased a treadmill which required assembling at home but after a year or so I decided to move it into the cellar where it has been ever since. I was able to partially dismantle it to make it easier to move but I still needed assistance to move the heavy parts. Yesterday (as I write this) I received the Elliptical Trainer I had ordered and had it stored in the garage directly to ease moving it into the cellar later. On Friday therefore I made the attempt to move it but it was too awkward a package to move alone, even using the techniques I had learned. The problem here though was more a lack of strength on my part. I was able to move it so far but could see difficulties ahead where two persons would be required to get it into the cellar. Enter my eldest son who obliged on his way home from work. Together we managed to push it into the cellar room and unpack it, though I had already removed loose packaging and a couple of boxes containing bits and pieces. That was all I had asked of my son but he carried on to unfold the unit and add all the loose parts not already fitted to it.The picture shows the finished assembly. The unit has a tray above the main panel on which a tablet can be clipped. The equipment can be used in conjunction with ‘Fitbit’ technology, in fact the system computer uses Android. There is a USB connector built-in and the computer connects to the Internet if required.

I hadn’t realised it was equipped with all that technology when I purchased it but then it is a commercial unit rather than a typical domestic one. Price? I managed to obtain it for a little more than half its usual price of £1900 or thereabouts for £999.
I was very much indebted to my son for taking the extra time to help assemble the trainer though that part I could have done myself, all I asked of him was to help bring it indoors. I have always resisted calling for assistance when doing such work unless it has been absolutely necessary. This time it was necessary so it was nice to know assistance was there when I needed it. Although I will obviously use the equipment I purchased it to encourage E to be more active. It was all I could do to get her to allow me a few minutes on it! Mission accomplished.

Shirley Anne

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The things we do

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Gosh it was cold on Thursday, peculiarly the same as it was the previous Thursday and it was all due to the wind. Storm Caroline was attacking the country this time. We have had several storms come our way this year. The part of the country worse hit was Scotland up in the far north but that didn’t mean the rest of the country escaped from its effects. Here in Southport a couple of hundred miles south of the eye of the storm we were still battered by winds gusting between fifty and seventy miles per hour. Yes, I prefer miles per hour rather than kilometres per hour being as I am of an older generation! I do understand the metric system of course and have been using it for many years but I cling to the old ways when I can. New ways aren’t always the best. Anyway we were expecting the delivery of the elliptical cross trainer on Thursday morning and as is usual these days we are bombarded with text messages and emails informing us of the delivery status. Tracking is what they call it but all they really have to do is say the goods will arrive in the morning or in the afternoon, is there any need to know the exact minute? I think not. I was up early and ready to go for a walk by nine o’clock but E was still in bed so I left a note informing her of the expected arrival of the trainer, between 10.10 and 12.10 according to the latest text message. I went for my walk and instead of steering clear of the sea front I braved it on the return path home. Gosh it was cold! I turned inland for the latter part just to escape the wind. The trainer hadn’t yet arrived and it was eleven o’clock but that was alright if it was to arrive when they said it would. I made myself a coffee and soon afterward it arrived. It was too large a parcel, the size of a free-standing small wardrobe to bring into the house through the front doors. Even so, it was to be located downstairs in the cellar anyway and would have been difficult to take there from the main entrance. It had to go through the garage and into the cellar from the garden entrance. The poor guys delivering it had no trolley which I thought a little stupid so I brought our trolley out to their van so they could use it. Thanking me they moved it down the path into the now opened garage and dropped it where I indicated. As I write this near lunch time it remains standing in the garage. Somehow and some way I have to manoeuvre it through the rear door of the garage and into the cellar through the garden entrance door. We’ll see what happens. Having returned indoors for lunch I decided first to take down the flag knowing full well that it couldn’t withstand the expected high winds to come. It would be raised again probably the next day.

Shirley Anne

No VAT

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The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ

The Birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Value added tax,.,…in case you are not from the UK. VAT is a tax levied on any transaction involving the exchange of money here in the UK. As far as the purchasing of goods was concerned it used to be referred as purchase tax. As with any tax funds received are used to finance the various needs of the nation but though many people may grumble about such things they do understand the necessity for it. Nobody likes paying taxes I suppose. People like getting things for free, nobody refuses a free gift do they? Oh yes they do! Somehow a free gift means a hidden price to pay, an ulterior motive or agenda. Surprisingly there are such things as free gifts, we have all received them at some point in our lives. How many of you receive birthday presents? The catch here is that we in turn return the compliment to the giver at the appropriate time making it not really free at all yet if there were not any catches, no price to pay, no VAT or anything else some people still remain suspicious! There are those who expect everything for nothing thinking the world owes them a living they beg, borrow or steal rather than work for it. They don’t pay VAT, they don’t pay for anything if they can avoid it. Little do they realise there is a price to pay eventually. I have offered many people a free gift though not I but The Lord, I am simply a messenger. That free gift is rejected more often than it is received. It is the free gift of everlasting life through Jesus Christ and it is free, nothing to pay for it has all been paid for by Jesus’ death on the cross. People think they have to earn it to receive it so they reject it. Jesus asks they come as they are and simply believe. People think their access to Heaven is automatic…..it isn’t. It is only possible through Jesus Christ. He paid the price for each of us. All we have to do is repent and ask Jesus to be our personal Saviour, all free, nothing to pay, no VAT or anything else! What a wonderful gift is that! This Christmas why not receive the free gift of life, the only gift that will last forever…….

Shirley Anne

Ships passing

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English: Passing ships

Passing ships (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By the time I had gotten downstairs on Tuesday morning E was disappearing out of the front door. She had told me of her appointment with the CAB (Citizens Advice Bureau) regarding her business with the DSS (Department of Social Security) but I had forgotten. I grabbed a banana and put on my outdoor clothes to go for a walk. It wasn’t a particularly warm day, in fact it was quite cold in the wind though not as bad is it was a few days earlier. Not knowing which path to take I plodded on toward the seafront and made a snap decision once I was there. I turned left and took the paths through the dunes where I would be sheltered from the wind. I reached the spot where I could turn to my right and continue over the dunes to the beach. Once there I was exposed to the cold wind but it was pleasant and refreshing despite that. For the first time in a while I was on the beach when the tide was actually coming in. It was almost at high tide, almost reaching the dunes themselves and I was thrilled about that. One of my favourite things in life is to be on the beach at high tide and I am fortunate to be living on the coast to enjoy it. On the downside, living where I am isn’t the best place for I have to walk quite a way through the dunes to reach the beach else walk across a muddy path nearer to home to reach it directly. Anyway either way is alright and I am still happy. I was going to walk further along the beach to the small town where we used to live, Freshfield which is the north part of Formby but had I done so it would have doubled my walking distance. I wasn’t ready for a fourteen mile walk so I phoned E to see if she could collect me if I decided to walk it. Unfortunately she wasn’t able to so I simply returned home on foot from Ainsdale where I had ended up. Walking to Ainsdale and back is around a seven-mile walk. When I arrived home E had only just returned too but she had another appointment to keep immediately after lunch. This time she had to visit the hospital for therapy on her shoulder. So she went out again and I remained at home. Sometimes it’s like that at home, we pass like ships in the night hardly seeing each other.

 

Shirley Anne

 

Back to it for a time

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Having recently purchased an Elliptical Cross Trainer there was a need to install a power outlet close to where I intended to locate it, (read yesterdays post). It was Monday morning and I had spent some time on the treadmill before eating breakfast during which time I planned how I was going to install the outlet. After returning upstairs to dress for the day my fist task was to check the cellar’s socket outlet circuit and decide where to break into it. There are regulations to observe of course so simply taking a supply from the nearest outlet is not always possible. There exists an outlet close-by but on the other side of the wall to the where the proposed new one was to be fitted. However because of the regulations I had to take the supply from elsewhere. The next-nearest place was another outlet four metres away. I took a supply from that one. The work itself took a mere forty minutes but I was down in the cellar for three hours! It was all about access and the removal of items no longer wanted causing the work to take so long. While I was carrying out the work I received a call from an old customer asking if I could repair her faulty lights but I had to tell her that I am now retired from my electrical work.  Not however at home! A few days ago  I talked about accumulated waste materials, items of furniture and other paraphernalia stored in the cellar rooms and no longer needed. The two rooms in which I was carrying out the work had plenty of such items. So the work was two-fold, carry out the new installation and remove and tidy up the areas. While I was downstairs I made use of the washing machine too for there were clothes needing to be washed. It is amazing how sidetracked one can be when carrying out a task. I expected that of course, especially working in the cellar. Slowly but surely waste was removed and gardening items like plant pots and other things taken to the greenhouses where they should have been in the first place. Our eldest son used to do a spot of DJ work and was also involved with the church’s audio and sound systems. Consequently he accumulated large speakers, lighting equipment, amplifiers and mixing desks with enough cabling to surround a village! All of this equipment is stored in the cellar and some of it in the boiler room where we now have the gym equipment. That had to be moved too. This is why I spent three hours down there. Finally I got the power outlet installed and ready for use just before lunch. Electrical work it seems is still part of my life for a while.

Shirley Anne

Gymnasium!

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I have been harping on about gym equipment recently and our re-arrangement and clean-up of what you might call our little gymnasium which is down in the cellar. It may be an unusual place to have it as it is actually in the room in which we have the house boiler and where we sometimes hang our laundry to dry when the weather is poor. The room does get warm of course but not so much as to prevent activity on the equipment we have. In any case we can always open the door leading out to the garden if it ever gets too warm which I think is very unlikely. I have always wished for a gymnasium at home and at one point, when the children were younger, I was going to have one in the garage in which E parks her car. At that time the other garage accommodated two vehicles but these days although the garage’s size hasn’t changed its contents have! We store apart from my van, ladders, scaffolding tower, cement mixer, mowers, wheelbarrow and many other things in there now. So the only alternative was to make use of the cellar rooms and only one of them was considered practical, the boiler room. Aside from the fact that the other rooms have a lower ceiling at around seven feet (2.133 metres) the boiler room ceiling is at eight feet (2.438 metres). When using barbells even that height is low but I personally don’t lift weights though if I did I would do it on the bench press. When standing on the treadmill there is plenty of head room and that’s why originally I moved it there. Now then, I have always wished to own an Elliptical Cross-Trainer as their use lowers impact stress on joints and enables many other muscles to be exercised at the same time. The problem with these machines is their cost. A cheaper machine isn’t worth the purchase for anyone serious about their exercising but some of the top-of-the-range machines are quite expensive and can reach £10,000 or more to buy. Something far less expensive would be better if I were to purchase one and preferably one on offer at an even lower price. So with that in mind I searched the Internet and found something suitable. It had many features and had been reduced in price from £1890 to £999 making it within the reach of what I was prepared to pay. I made the purchase and it will be here by the time you are reading this. The machine will probably benefit E insofar as it is easier for her to use and will give her the exercise opportunity she needs. Although she has started using the treadmill (for extremely slow walking) and the bicycle on its stand she will find the new machine to be better. The picture above shows the model I purchased. Our boiler room is turning out to be a proper little gymnasium! One thing I have yet to do is to install a power point where I wish to keep the Trainer for at the moment there aren’t any close-by.

Shirley Anne

So far so good

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It is December 2 as I write this. It is Saturday afternoon and I have just eaten lunch. Actually lunch served as two meals for I haven’t eaten breakfast. Over the last few days the weather has been cold with a northerly biting wind blowing off the sea along the coast where I live. Today all of that changed and it has been warmer and far less windy. Although the temperature is barely reaching 9 deg C it has been pleasant in the sunshine, well this morning anyway for at this very moment the sun is about to set and the day has turned cloudy. I went for a walk along the seashore to a point some three miles or more away before turning inland to take an elevated  footpath across the marshland. The path is a historical ‘right of way‘ passage which cuts through one of the local golf courses of which there are many around here. The area is called ‘Marshside’ for very obvious reasons, it is basically marshland or wet land where many wildfowl visit. Having traversed to the other side of the area the path led out to a road which I have often walked on my travels to and from the seafront. There was an old sign showing the site where an old airfield was located many years ago. There was a workshop at the location from 1910 until 1966 according to the sign……….This is the exit point onto Hesketh Road from which I emerged. 

More information here…….http://www.forgottenairfields.com/united-kingdom/england/merseyside/hesketh-park-aerodrome-s1249.html

Facing the row of houses I turned right which took me back to the shore. I remained on the concrete on my walk back home having walked on the shore on the outward trek. What is the collective term for a large group of people dressed in waterproof clothing carrying tripods and binoculars? No I don’t know either but there was such a group descended on the footpath in front of me eagerly pointing their binoculars out to sea across the marshes. One thing you can say about this part of the coast is we have plenty of geese, ducks, swans, gannets and gulls and many more varieties of birds for bird watchers, which is what this group were doing. Just a couple of miles further inland there is a wetland centre for all those interested in birds. It is called Martin Mere…. https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/martin-mere/  . So that was my day on Saturday. As we approach the Winter Solstice we can begin to look forward to warmer times ahead but we’ve got some cold weather yet to come first no doubt. In the meantime so far so good.

Shirley Anne

What a morning

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As I now usually use the treadmill at least three times per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays it became awkward that I had a dental appointment on Friday at nine-thirty. It meant I had to arise early in order to have my exercise before keeping the appointment. If I don’t exercise first thing in the morning I don’t do it at all. Exercising early allows me to have the rest of the day free for other activities. Exercising later in the day means I might already be too tired to do it! Anyway I arose around six-forty had my exercise and had eaten breakfast by eight o’clock. After taking a shower and dressing I drove to the surgery for my check-up. This time nothing was out of the ordinary. I paid the receptionist and drove back home. Things were going well and I was thinking about things I could do for the remainder of the day. Going out for a meal was a definite possibility but as it turned out I didn’t get the chance. A couple of months ago we had a new garage door installed (see previous posts). When I returned home I opened the garage door and reversed my vehicle into the garage. On leaving the garage I tried to close the door but it had become stuck in the open position. I switched off the power and attempted to wind it down manually using the supplied handle but it wouldn’t shift. The door had unwound itself and required manipulating by hand. That couldn’t be done whilst the steel cover was in place. It was a job for the fitter to do under the guarantee agreement. We paid a little extra to extend the guarantee to ten years from the one year basic cover. I had to leave the door open which meant leaving all the garage contents exposed to the possibility of theft. I wasn’t prepared to allow that. We called the company by phone and they told us they couldn’t help as the guarantee was the responsibility of the official sub-contractor. They couldn’t supply a telephone number but only an email address and a website. We tried the website first so that we could enter the details of our complaint but it wouldn’t work. Evidently the site didn’t have a secure status and was blocked! E tried the email approach and after a few attempts finally was able to send the message. However, before she could send the message we’d had problems with the email provider (AOL) for quite some time. Rather than waiting for a reply for an appointment date E decided to send another email requesting they contact us by phone. So there we were, no reply, no appointment date and a garage door stuck in the open position with the possibility of it remaining like that for days! What kind of company operates this way? I was disgusted and furious. I decided to take things into my own hands by removing the steel cover, which was rather awkward, then I was able to free the unrolled door before lowering it electrically. I switched off the power and left the door in the closed position. I left the steel cover off too so that the installer can follow-up on the repair/resetting when he finally gets here. It means I haven’t the use of the van until he does, though it is possible to re-open the door if  I really need to. I know what the problem is causing the fault, it is a strip of material located in the slot in which the door runs. It acts as a slide and prevents metal to metal contact as the door operates. It has become detached from the slot. The one on the opposite side is perfectly alright. The now loose material interferes with the door rolling up and down and it requires securing probably with adhesive. I wonder sometimes how things in this world manage to work and keep on working without these kinds of problems. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

Shirley Anne

I gave in

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We had another bright and sunny day on Thursday but it was bitterly cold outside with an offshore wind making it feel that much colder. Despite the weather I got myself ready to take a walk, yes, you guessed it, down toward the beach. Brave as I am as far as the cold weather is concerned even I had to admit to feeling uncomfortable as I plodded along through the sand dunes trying to steer clear of the biting wind. All along the coast hereabouts we have sand lizards and Natterjack toads (  http://www.countryfile.com/days-out/natterjack-toads-southport-lancashire  ) both of which are protected species. In among the dunes there are areas called ‘slacks’, wet places, as well as large ponds which are dotted between the dunes. These are the breeding grounds for the toads, not that I saw any toads of course as they would be hibernating out of sight until Spring. The lizards are even more inconspicuous, even in Summer. As I walked along I noticed the surface of the ponds were partly frozen in places showing just how cold it really was. The air temperature at that time was around 3 or 4 deg C but the wind-chill factor made it feel nearer zero. The ground is often frosty at this time of year despite the higher air temperature. Although there was some shelter from the wind it nevertheless made its presence felt. I walked perhaps a mile in total through the dunes and decided it was too cold there so I moved away from the shore to more sheltered places. I don’t usually feel the effects of the cold weather when I am wrapped up in suitable clothing and although I wear a skirt my legs never seem to feel cold. I wear thick knee-length stockings which I let drop to my ankles and my walking boots and it is enough. However my hands can get cold even though I may be wearing fleece-lined gloves. The main problem is the wind. If it isn’t windy, which is very rare in Southport, the coldness is less noticeable. I might have been a little tired on Thursday morning but I cut my walk short and returned home after only an hour.

Shirley Anne

They can’t wait

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Downstairs a little later on Wednesday even though I was up and out of bed before eight. Being a woman it takes longer sometimes to get ready for the day! Still, I wasn’t dressed in my day clothes when I did get downstairs, I was dressed for working out on the treadmill or other things. Although I wasn’t really in the mood for running I made the effort as I always do and as I always do I feel great for doing it. It’s psychological I suppose. Anyway that done it was time for breakfast after which I got ready to go for a walk. Wednesday was a lovely sunny day but it was cold at 5 deg C with a slight northerly wind making it feel even colder. I was well-wrapped up though and prepared to enjoy the walk despite the cold. Part of the walk included my ending up at the pier. There were very few people out and about, especially down on the sea front where it was exposed to the wind. It didn’t matter to me, I walked the length of the pier, which in Southport is quite a long way….
Southport Pier is a Grade II listed pleasure pier located in Southport, Merseyside, England. First opened in August 1860, it is the oldest iron pier in the country and spans a length of 1,108 metres (3,635 ft), making it the second-longest in Great Britain after Southend Pier. Although at one stage reaching out 4,380 feet (1,340 m), a succession of storms and fires during the late 19th and early 20th century have reduced its length to that of the present day. (Extract from Wikipedia)’

At the time of writing the pier has been undergoing extensive maintenance to its ironwork and the work has been in progress for a couple of months. It will take a few more months I guess to complete the work. I spoke with one of the guys working there who told me that although the work is good (you’ve got to enjoy your work!) it was ‘Bl***y freezing’ he quipped! I left him to it and started back home which would be to the right along the shoreline and off the picture above. On the way home I paid a visit to the pub as I wanted a drink and the use of their toilet, though not necessarily in that order! It was packed with diners inside in the warmth. I stayed at the bar and off the carpet as I was wearing dirty boots. It was decorated for Christmas inside with two very large trees. It was still November. I thought it too early for Christmas decorations but it seems with each passing year it gets earlier. I suppose people are just too keen to begin the Christmas festivities. It’s a pity many don’t believe in Christ. He seems to have been left out of His own birthday celebrations (at the pub) once again, for nowhere could be seen anything to indicate the reason for the season. With a sigh I left for home and dwelled upon the weeks ahead and all that will go on during that time and into the new year.

Shirley Anne

Another dining room

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Life is full of surprises isn’t it? You would think by my age I would have seen it all by now but no like everyone else there is always something to surprise. Speaking of age and all that comes with growing old I can say I am becoming a victim, if that is the right word, of it. According to one theory we begin the downward slope of deterioration once we are beyond the age of twenty-one. Until that age we evidently continue to grow. Obviously twenty-one is only an approximation though I remember noticing small things happening to me at around about that age which would seem to support the theory. Physical ability and strength are usually the first things one notices which begin to deteriorate. We simply cannot do things as we once were able to. Oh yes we can do them though often more slowly or with less strength but as the years pass even that sometimes dwindles away to nothing. We begin to forget things as we age.

''Note that in this diagram, sensory memory is...

”Note that in this diagram, sensory memory is detached from either form of memory, and represents its development from short term and long term memory, due to its storage being used primarily on a “run time” basis for physical or psychosomatic reference. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Though I still have an excellent long-term memory recent events sometimes elude me. I can remember events from forty, fifty, sixty years ago, even further back in some instances which were part of my life. Often though I forget events which are very recent, months, weeks, days and even hours ago disappear from my thoughts. I would guess I first noticed poor short-term memory loss around the age of sixty. An example would be my going upstairs either at home or in someone else’s house to collect something and upon getting there no remembering what it was I was collecting! I have a poor memory when it comes to people’s names though faces I do remember. Where I had seen the face is usually forgotten though. What has all this to do with a dining room? No, I haven’t forgotten…….honestly! I was up in my bedroom a few days ago searching for something to wear and inside the wardrobe I noticed a cardboard box on the shelf. That in itself isn’t unusual for I have many boxes and other things in my wardrobes besides clothing. Wanting to refresh my memory as to the boxes contents I removed it from the shelf and delved inside. I found amongst other things some small plastic bags which I thought E might find useful so I removed them. Whilst doing that I saw a plastic money bag of the type used in banks with something inside it. To my surprise it contained banknotes, two hundred and sixty pounds in twenties, tens and fives. I couldn’t remember when it was I put the bag there or why. There is a small purse in the same wardrobe in which I keep banknotes and it has a similar amount in it but I know what that money is for. This separate bag of money I must have placed there for a rainy day as the saying goes but I had forgotten about it completely. It must have been there for more than a year waiting for me to use. I took a trip to the bank and deposited most of it. With the remainder I took E out to lunch. That is where the dining room comes into the story. We drove into town and went to the plush Bold Hotel  restaurant for our meal. https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/LocationPhotoDirectLink-g191255-d568615-i180703826-The_Bold_Hotel-Southport_Merseyside_England.html

Shirley Anne

He is waiting for your return

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Luke 15:7
If Jesus were to tell the parable of the lost sheep today, he might make it the parable of the lost dog. The idea is the same. If your dog runs off, you search for it until you find it. And when you bring it home, your family celebrates.

Parable of the Lost Drachma

Parable of the Lost Drachma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The next story is better understood with a bit of historical explanation. Palestinian women traditionally received a set of 10 coins as a wedding gift. These coins were carried around in a purse or on a chain and held a significance similar to a modern-day wedding ring. As such, these coins held sentimental value that went well beyond their monetary value. No wonder this woman would search so fervently to find the lost coin, and no wonder she would want to celebrate after finding it!
We might even be able relate to the third story. Imagine that you’re a parent and your son leaves home with as much money as he can pull together. He sets out for a big city like New York, Los Angeles or San Francisco. He is on his own. But instead of working and being responsible, he blows every cent on drugs, sex and alcohol and ends up on the street, homeless and hungry.
As his parent, you worry about him. Every time the phone rings, you hope it’s him. One day you open the front door, and there he stands! Relief is immediate. You throw your arms around him. Words can’t express the joy you feel. Your son who was lost is home!
These three stories express how God feels about every spiritual explorer. And it’s how he feels about you. He’s looking for you because he loves you. God is eager to forgive you, and all of heaven is ready to celebrate your return. But, like the son in the third story, you must decide to come home to his waiting arms.
Taken from NIV The NIV Journey Bible

So it is with God. He made you even if you don’t believe in that. He gave you life, your spirit, that part of you which makes you who you are was given, was planted in you at the beginning. Before you were born God knew you. If you are far from God it isn’t He who moved! It was you. Perhaps you don’t understand, perhaps you are unsure, perhaps you are cynical but whatever and whoever you are God loves you. He wants you to know His love and the high price He paid for you to come to Him. Our sins keep us separated from God and we are unable to restore the relationship. God however knows this and that is why He made the ultimate sacrifice to show you He loves you. He gave His only Son Jesus Christ who paid the penalty for our sins. What a wonderful free gift of love! As we approach Christmas we should remember that gift of love and turn to Him. Accepting Jesus as your Saviour is the only way to restore your relationship with God. Don’t let another year pass, another moment pass, another opportunity to return home to the open arms waiting to embrace you.

Shirley Anne

They get more weird

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There’s a lot going on in my mind lately. Most of what I think about is trivia, mundane stuff of everyday life but even so they play on my mind. The thing is I get ideas and if I don’t take action they remain floating around inside my brain until I do something about them. I think this is the main reason I get weird dreams. Much of the content in my dreams has nothing to do with what has been going on in my waking hours. I was talking with E about this a few days ago. I have a theory about dreams, their content that is. Throughout our lives we gain knowledge and experience of all sorts of things. During our waking hours or our conscious periods we rely upon that accumulated knowledge and experience to aid us in our day-to-day living. However, when we are asleep in our subconscious state there is little need to use most of that knowledge and experience. The information is still there of course and I think that when we sleep the subconscious state of our minds makes use of the information in dreams. When awake we can make sense of all the information we have but when asleep the information is used randomly and is often disjointed. In our conversation I likened it to the workings of a computer that was faulty. The ‘C’ drive in a computer is actually a very rapidly spinning disk on which is stored all the information we put into the computer. Reading heads collect the various stored data collating the information so that it can be used sensibly. As the data is often randomly stored the machine has to collect the information from wherever it is on the disk. The reading heads are controlled indirectly by the input from the user. When we are asleep we are unable to control anything. (Certain things our bodies do automatically happen whether we are awake or asleep). If the reading heads have no direction they cannot collect information. Our subconscious thoughts have no direction yet we can dream. Dreams are like random bits of information which join together in an attempt to make sense. They happen because there is nothing controlling them. I feel this is the reason so many of my dreams are weird.

Weird Dreams

Weird Dreams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have this dream or parts of it on a fairly regular basis. It is centred around a very large house which has fallen into disrepair and has become quite dilapidated. It is several storeys high and has problems with its roof, there are large holes in it. The floors throughout the house are wooden and the stairways rickety and worn. On the upper floor on one side of the house is attached a veranda, a covered walkway open on one side to the elements. Reaching it is difficult. A narrow twisting stair leads to the end of the corridor of the veranda. There are holes in the wall and cobwebs everywhere. On the other side of the wall is a large hall where the holes in the roof can be seen. On the next floor below are several small rooms which can be reached using either of two staircases from the lower floors. Part of those stairways remind me of the old staircase in my primary school and in the dream if I walk them I think I am back in school. The lowest floor has numerous open spaces all covered in spiders webs and there are holes everywhere in the wooden floorboards. There doesn’t seem to be any windows or rather glass in the window frames and neither are there any doors on the ground floor. Initially in the dream the house stands on the side of a grassy hill and is surrounded with hedgerows. The house apparently has around forty rooms. Later in the dream when I am walking inside the house it now is located in the centre of a busy street in a town. People are walking along the sidewalk only a metre from the path surrounding the house yet they don’t notice the house or those in it, myself and unknown companions. In a recent dream I saw some small animals which at first I thought were mice eating something on the ground floor. As I drew near I saw that they were very small squirrels, mice-sized in fact! They scurried away and disappeared down one of the holes in the floor. Myself and some others went into the cellar rooms to see where they had gone and we discovered around thirty or so of them covering a corner in the room. They all ran outside through a hole in the wall and when I followed after them I saw myself at ground level facing the busy high street. No-one saw that I was there. That was the end of the dream.

Each time the house is in my dream I find it is different inside in some places. Its location is different and I find myself in different situations too.

Shirley Anne

Hanging on

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Throughout our lives we may find ourselves caught up in situations outside our control. Though we may struggle to see a way out or a solution to problems we are facing we often cling on to a hope that things will change for the better. We hang on for as long as we are able or until the situation is resolved. We may not be happy with the result but we’ve done our best. How often have we heard others lending their support in encouragement by saying hang on in there? The length of time we are able to resist giving in and throwing in the towel depends on our inner strength, our faith and our determination. Sometimes we are thrown off-course by things out of our control and simply have to accept it. Earlier in the year I noticed our apple trees did not produce the fruit we had expected, in fact one tree had no fruit whilst the other had produced only four apples…

A later photograph of the same tree…..

And later still this picture taken on 25 November…….

Still hanging on through thick and thin. At the time I wrote this post and took the picture I wanted to pluck them from the tree before they fell of their own accord or were blown off in a high wind but E insisted I leave them until December just to see if they would remain hanging on. Life is like that. Sometimes we just don’t know if we should remain hanging on or give in to the pressure to let go. As a Christian I am encouraged to hang on in faith in order to overcome those things which can threaten to bring me down or to simply wait for answered prayer. We should all be encouraged to hang on in there just like the four little apples on my tree.

Shirley Anne

 

Slowly recycling

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English: A contradiction in terms! Whatever go...

A contradiction in terms! Whatever goes through the minds of the people who put up these signs? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I seem to be getting faster in my treadmill regime, running quicker, longer and further and slowly improving all the time. Sounds a contradiction in terms but progress has to be slower rather than quicker, building stamina takes time. It isn’t that my stamina was ever low but having neglected the stricter regime I had until a few months ago it dropped off somewhat. Now it is slowly improving with each session I have. Being an active person exercising has never been a problem for me. If I wasn’t working I would be exercising most of the time. Nothing has really changed over the years, I am still actively working at home now that I have retired from the electrical industry and my exercising continues. My latest trend has been clearing out unwanted items and materials, things we have accumulated over the years and stored in various places around the house. The advantages of having a large house are often outweighed by the inclination to ‘put things away in case they might be useful one day’. Worse still we have cellar rooms which are very handy for storing things then forgetting about them until the rooms become cluttered. When we stripped out the main bathroom three and a half years ago most if not all of the timber that was removed was stored in the cellar. I have always tended to keep timber because it is often useful and has been very useful when I have been engaged in projects at home. Why buy new when there is plenty in storage? Having said that I am now beginning to rationalise my stock of used timber and taking what I no longer need to the recycle centre. My now empty van is worth its weight in gold when it comes to clearing out the house. On Friday morning after much exercising on the treadmill E and I emptied out a bench seat we have which was stocked full of telecom, computer and power cables together with routers, old computers and computer equipment, and power adapters none of which are now of any use and we loaded them into the van. The broken dishwasher was already in the van waiting to be dumped. We had removed a lot of timber from the cellar and loaded that on the van together with bags of old clothes and odds and ends. We drove to the recycle centre and dumped it all. Much still remains to be disposed of but it is a slow process and will take time to complete. It may take months but there is no hurry. I am just happy it is getting done

Shirley Anne