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:
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.”
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.
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?
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.
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)
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.
Give your time willingly with no strings attached.
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!
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 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.
I picked up a whole carrier bag full of rubbish as we walked to church on Sunday.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
Small Boy and I have already had fun playing with it and using the figures to tell the story of Jesus’ birth.