Advent 2017

The season of Advent is about to begin. We’ll be putting up our Christmas tree at the weekend and will start spending time each day reading the Christmas story with Small Boy and Little Miss. 

(We also have a Lego Advent calendar for Small Boy and Little Miss has an Advent mouse with a tutu!) 

I’m going to start reading a recently-published novel ‘A Christmas Calling’ by Chris Cottee as well as two devotionals ‘A Perfect Love’ by Mummas: The Word and ‘The Meaning is in the Waiting‘ by Paula Gooder (a charity shop bargain in January). 

IMG_3016

I want to make space for God during the busyness but more than that: I want my everyday nappy-changing, tidying, cooking, shopping, queueing, Facebooking, walking to school, project-planning life to be Christ-centred. 


I have now been blogging for a year. My first posts are all reflections on Advent and Christmas which you may wish to read or re-read over the next few weeks: 

Grace makes beauty out of ugly things

God moved into the neighbourhood

The little Lord Jesus no crying he makes

Take the child, his mother and flee

Waiting for the baby

I want to be a mangrove

I am reading Planetwise by Dave Bookless. A book I am going to have to re-read and read again. It is theologically dense and mind-set shifting. Right now, these words (on p.106-7) are resonating with me:

“Yet we are created to belong to a people and a place. We were designed to be in relationship, not only with God, but also with a community of people and the natural world.”

“Wherever we are, even if it’s not a place we have chosen, God is equally challenging us to pray and work for the welfare of the cities, towns or villages where he has put us.”

He quotes Jeremiah 29:4-7:

This is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.

“There is a desperate need for people to be like mangroves: deeply committed to the places God has put them. Deeply rooted people hold together the fabric of a community. Deeply rooted people get to know the local ecosystem: the right things to grow and when to grow them, and they notice when the seasons are changing. Deeply rooted people don’t move on when things get difficult, but rather draw on those deep roots into God and the human and natural community that supports them.”

I want to be a mangrove.

kimberley-2919660_1920

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday. I really like this article from Positive News listing alternative activities to shopping. I’ve added some of my thoughts…

Revamp your wardrobe

My new hobby of buying items in charity shops is fun and addictive! I’ve not spent a great deal of money and have purchased some gorgeous items – some of which are not quite my usual style. I’m wondering how long I can go before I actually need to buy a new item of clothing!

I’d encourage you to get to know your local charity shops. Declutter your wardrobe and search for your own bargains!

Read a book in peace

Read. Read on your own. Read to a child. Visit your local library. Buy a second-hand book from your local charity shop or from Better World Books. Buy someone else a pre-loved book. Give away one of your own books. Buy a book for a child in care this Christmas through The Book Trust. Read.

baby-2598005_1920

Get outside

Go for a walk where you live. Look up. Look around. Go down a street you’ve not been along before. What do you see? Who do you see? Where’s the life?

barrier-2894376_1920

Support ethical businesses

Consume better (a list I’m compiling of how and where to do this). Make one change the next time you do your supermarket shop.

Buy second-hand 

Clothes, books, toys, a bike, a trailer tent and a bread machine – all items Family Pilgrim have purchased second-hand this year.

(And we’ve borrowed toys, clothes, books, tools and cloth nappies)

second-20113_1920

Give items away to people in need. Be patient when you want something. Try and find it second-hand.

Buy gifts for refugees in need 

If you can’t get to the pop-up shop mentioned in the Positive News article, then donate to your local charity helping people seeking sanctuary.

Volunteer

Give your time willingly with no strings attached.

Support independent designers and artists 

Appreciate creativity. Be generous.

Buy Nothing

Give something away. Find out about Buy Nothing Day.

Support companies that are doing their bit. 

23658858_10159984190705393_7674025897488975390_n
From 1 Million Women

Have a look at Traidcraft’s thoughts on Black Friday (including some scary stats on how much money is spent over this weekend and how many people around the world celebrate Black Friday).

Enjoy today and this weekend: be generous, be kind, be loving, be creative, be you. 

I’m a Little Teapot

Small Boy learns a new nursery rhyme each week at school and this week it’s I’m a Little Teapot.

IMG_2901

I have just started using my teapots regularly as I have switched to loose leaf tea because tea bags contain plastic.

IMG_2900

Boil the kettle.

Wait.

Warm the pot.

One spoon for me.

And one for the pot.

Wait.

Pour the milk into the mug.

Find the tea strainer.

Pour the tea.

It certainly takes longer but there’s something peaceful about the pause, the ritual and the space.

herbal-2562218_1920

 

 

The good, the bad and the ugly

Let’s start with the good:

  • Rice and pasta in cardboard packaging from Tesco – probably one of the easiest ways to avoid single use plastic.
  • Waitrose sell an organic palm oil free chocolate spread which is delicious! Bye bye Nutella! Find out about palm oil here.
  • Wooden toys – I’d been wanting some pre-loved wooden dolls’ house furniture and wooden people for a while to furnish Granny’s old dolls’ house for Little Miss. Eventually, I found some for sale near by through Facebook Marketplace. (Disclaimer: I did then buy some new wooden furniture from John Lewis as the house needed a few more items). Just waiting for Grandpère to redecorate the house now! 

IMG_2721

  • Toy library – I finally joined the local toy library this week. Small Boy and Little Miss are enjoying playing with magnetic building blocks. 
  • Small Boy is loving the new series of Down on the Farm – a fantastic programme for children about nature and the countryside. It also makes a change from Octonauts! 
  • I’ve enjoyed reading Peter Harris’s Kingfisher’s Fire and have ordered Under the Bright Wings secondhand from Better World Books as well as a new copy of Planetwise by Dave Bookless from Wordery. I’ve not bought anything from Amazon since 10 April! 
  • I’ve also purchased a year’s subscription to the Pearly White Club – a new local company selling bamboo toothbrushes. They are also donating toothbrushes to New Hope. 

The bad:

I picked up a whole carrier bag full of rubbish as we walked to church on Sunday. 

IMG_2793

The two bins in our local park have been padlocked because someone had previously threw the metal bin over the fence into a field where there are horses and donkeys. 

I love my local community and it saddens me to see litter on the grass verges and vandalism which could harm animals.


The Ugly:

Strangers on the internet have been mean to me.

I posted a comment on a Marks and Spencer’s Facebook post which was advertising their Paddington Bear merchandise. I wrote that the Paddington films have an amazing message which is at odds with their adverts in UK newspapers which incite hatred towards immigrants (see Stop Funding Hate). 

paddington-1708630_1920

I naively wasn’t expecting anyone to read my words let alone comment. None of the negative comments were particularly bad (knowing how some people are trolled on social media) but I’m quite sensitive and I was surprised by some people’s reactions. I’m not used to people behaving like that towards me and I was hurt and angry. Normally, a Facebook notification on my phone is a positive thing as someone has ‘liked’ a photo I’ve shared but on Wednesday I dreaded seeing the red notification symbol and felt sick inside. 

Some of their words are still going round my head. Am I a ‘snowflake’? Do I ‘have a life’? Yet, I don’t regret what I wrote and I’m going to post a letter to Marks and Spencer this weekend outlining my concerns about their advertising.

Ultimately though it’s not about me and what a handful of people think about me. It’s about taking a stand on behalf of people who are currently experiencing injustice. 

 

What’s the cost?

I watched The Story of Stuff recently. I was struck by Annie Leonard’s example of a $4.99 radio and how its production couldn’t possible be that cheap. She therefore wasn’t paying its true cost. So who was?

In the spring, I switched to getting our milk from a local milkman rather than from the supermarket. I liked the community aspect of this and now I know which farms our milk comes from.

This week, I trialled glass bottles. It is more expensive but in reality milk in plastic bottles costs more – but I am not the one paying the price.

FullSizeRender (27)

Milk in a glass bottle tastes better and the bottle looks and feels amazing. I’m definitely sticking with environmentally-friendly, reusable glass.


Mr Pilgrim and I are looking forward to seeing Paddington 2. We might even make it to the cinema! Here’s a great article by an immigration lawyer on the first Paddington film.

paddington-1708630_1920


This week’s top Consuming Better purchase is a fair trade wooden nativity set from Embrace the Middle East (a charity tackling poverty and injustice in the Middle East). I’ve been searching for a nativity set for several years in which the people look more Middle Eastern rather than Caucasian and I’m really pleased with this beautiful set. FullSizeRender (28)

Small Boy and I have already had fun playing with it and using the figures to tell the story of Jesus’ birth.


Mr Pilgrim and I enjoyed Blue Planet 2 last week. Hopefully, it will start conversations about plastics and ocean conservation.

SONY DSC

Maybe it’s time for a milkman revival!