Christian · Ecological concern · nature · Uncategorized

Creepy-crawly love

I love insects. Really, I do. Over the last year, I have grown to love creepy-crawlies. Now, I’ll still shout for Mr Pilgrim if I see a spider in the sitting room and I’m not saying that I won’t ever swat flies or mosquitoes but I think bugs are pretty awesome.

I’ve written before about my new enthusiasm for butterflies but who doesn’t love butterflies?! They are graceful, colourful, and an inspirational metaphor. Other insects are harder to love but the more I discover, the more my fascination and appreciation grows. I’ve just ordered Extraordinary Insects: Weird. Wonderful. Indispensable. the Ones Who Run Our World.

My enthusiasm has been ignited by the wonder of Small Boy at all things insect. He is currently enthralled by a library book called Find out Bugs. We’ve found a new favourite caterpillar, the woolly bear caterpillar, who lives in the Arctic and takes 14 years to complete the cycle from egg to moth. We’ve learnt there is only one insect which lives in Antarctica, a midge, and we’ve had fun being bug detectives!

Butterfly Conservation have a campaign called Moths Matter, and yes, they do. (Don’t tell Small Boy but Mr Pilgrim and I have signed up to go to a moths night!) Moths matter and so do bumblebees, stink bugs, dragonflies, bombardier beetles and jewel beetles.

Why do they matter? I think insects are great because they just are – created by the Creator, they are valuable in and of themselves. But they also provide many benefits to us, such as pollination and pest control.

Insect populations are decreasing around the world and so let’s do what we can to help. Let’s not mow our lawns as often, avoid pesticides, plant wildflowers, build bug hotels and make sure we always have water in our gardens (if we have one).

books · Christian · Ecological concern · Ethical living · mental health · nature · Uncategorized

A blue tit in the bird bath

Illness, an allergic reaction and stress meant our weekend didn’t go to plan. Yet, in the tiredness and tears, were some memorable moments of joy.

One of the reasons we bought our house (and not the one next door) is that the kitchen sink overlooks the garden. Washing dishes on Saturday morning, I caught sight of a blue tit splashing in our small bird bath.

We love blue tits in our house. Small Boy found me reading about birdsong and we discovered that blue tits tweet ‘see see choo choo’. We often pretend to be birds, bugs and sea creatures in our house and Small Boy enjoyed being a blue tit: ‘see see choo choo’.

(If you are interested in learning how to hide like an octopus, find food like a bee or hop like a frog, I recommend reading Howl Like a Wolf).

All four of us gathered by the windows and excitedly watched our garden guest bathe.

In the afternoon, we headed to our allotment. As we parked, we saw a small bird hopping on the grass (a red wing) and long-tailed tits were in the bare trees at the foot of our plot. Later, a robin drew near hoping for some worms (good news for us and the robin, Mr Pilgrim dug up lots!). Mr P threw one to the robin but the bird was too timid and the wise worm wriggled away. Probably for the best!

Little Miss got bored and kept declaring: ‘I want to go the library!’ Mr Pilgrim kept digging while the children enjoyed choosing books and I picked up my order of Fascism by Madeleine Allbright.

I’ve not seen any butterflies yet although there have been sightings on the Herts and Middlesex Butterfly Conservation website. I’m looking forward to seeing my first butterfly of 2019 and wondering what it will be.

My Valentine’s present was A Sting in the Tale by Dave Goulson – all about bumblebees. They are fascinating little creatures and it’s a delight to read Dave Goulson’s humorous yet scientific (he’s a professor of biology) prose.

Lent is approaching and I’ve bought Wild Lent (full of outside activities to help us encounter God through creation). I’m also thinking about taking up one of the Living Lent challenges, organised by the Joint Public Issues Team.

Christian · Ethical living · Uncategorized

Thoughts before Christmas

The frenetic season before Christmas has drawn to an end and now it is time to rest; the to do list has been abandoned, the out of office is on, and I’m choosing to slow down. 

(For me being slower means less internet, more play, more cups of tea and more Sorkin dramas!)

I last wrote a post a month ago and since then I have tried to sit down and write several times but struggled to put my thoughts into words. In some ways, I am still in that place, I don’t have a theme, an activity or a specific reason to write yet I need to write to process the swirling thoughts.

A Just Christmas?

This year I’ve tried to buy less and to buy better (fair trade and zero waste) and, as last year, presents are wrapped in old maps. We’ve wanted to be generous and for our gifts to be a sign of our love and appreciation to the recipient – I’m not sure how well we’ve done here, and I know that in the busyness there are cards I’ve not written and presents I’ve not bought.

A visit to the Lego Shop did result in some unplanned unnecessary purchases but every time I look at my new Wonder Woman Mini Figure key-ring, I remember the Wonder Woman pose and feel empowered!

Photo by Zhen Hu on Unsplash

Amid the busyness of the past month, I managed to have a few hours to myself and went for a calming walk one day in my local nature reserve to look for birds. I don’t find it easy to choose a peaceful activity and as I set off it did feel like ‘a waste of time’ but in a week full of work, volunteering, appointments, Christmas preparation and children’s parties, it was a vital sustaining pause.  

Advent began with Small Boy, Little Miss and Mr Pilgrim being ill, but our activities have gone well – better than expected! The Jesse Tree book has been very popular with Small Boy and Little Miss. They’ve enjoyed colouring in the pictures and listening to me retell the Bible stories. My Christmas tree hat gains me more attention than I thought but I think it’s made people smile! Our reverse Advent calendar has been good, and I will do this again – buying the items in advance certainly helps.

I will finish now with a quote from the Advent devotional, God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas (a collection of writings from
Dietrich Bonhoeffer), that I’ve been reading – words that I’ve been reflecting on throughout this month.

And that is the wonder of all wonders, that God loves the lowly . . . . God is not ashamed of the lowliness of human beings. God marches right in. He chooses people as his instruments and performs his wonders where one would least expect them. God is near to lowliness; he loves the lost, the neglected, the unseemly, the excluded, the weak and the broken.”

May you know God’s nearness this Christmas.

Love, Dido x

Uncategorized

No one can take steps for others on the hard road of recovery

I wrote in my last blog how I didn’t have the time to write a post for World Homeless Day or World Mental Health Day but I have just read this by Jon Kuhrt – one of my social justice heroes – which covers both those topics.

“Grace has enabled him to accept truth”

Grace + Truth

My daughter and I have just got back from WLM’s Sleep Out held last night in the grounds of St James’ Church, Piccadilly.

It was an uplifting evening. 82 supporters gave up their bed for the night to sleep out and (so far) we have raised £35,000 for our work to bring rough sleepers in from the cold.

A platform for change

Michael was one of our formerly homeless clients who spoke to everyone last night at the start of the evening. He talked about how WLM gave homeless people ‘a platform to help people like him come off the streets’.

A platform to help. It’s a good phrase to describe our work.

Charities like WLM provide support, stability, consistency and resources for people in need. And these are vital ingredients that help homeless people make the steps they need to make.

But it’s wrong to think that any…

View original post 637 more words

Uncategorized

Shalom; God’s Promise of Peace

I read this blog from my friend who writes at Graceful Reflections this afternoon. It blew me away and so I wanted to share it.

Graceful Reflections

Dove

The angel led me to a huge wooden door. He opened the door and spoke,

‘Shalom’.

I looked out on to an open plain. Verdant grass sprouted up from the ground and in the distance was a pool of clear water. Elephants stood at the edge, some were drinking and others cooled their feet in the shallows. A howl broke the silence. They were not alone.

To the left came a pack of wolves, ambling towards the water. On the other side of the pool was something soft and white, like a cloud had fallen from the sky and was resting on the ground. The cloud moved, not gliding along, but frolicking. My eyes widened in horror; I was watching a baby lamb. I was unable to move or speak, I could only watch.

The wolves came closer; the group split into two and began to encircle the lamb. I…

View original post 651 more words