prodigalmomma











{August 27, 2012}   A picture a day… #1

New term is fast approaching – as for me I’m investigating the teaching of phonics this year as a move of key stage means that will play a bigger part in the daily routine.  Also DD is beginning her school career… so it’s a time of new beginnings.

Inspired by a wordpress blog I’m seeking to stimulate my blogging activities with a photo-a-day; some I’ll snap myself, others I imagine I’ll find in papers and other media which catches my attention.

An urban photo…

I’m organising my room to get myself ready for the new term; it always seems to look worse before it looks better.  I’ve also gone through my wardrobe (rather ruthlessly I might add) ditching (to go to the charity shop) those things that I pick up … look at… then place back in there.  Why do I do that?  Am I the only one?  Anyway, I’m sure most of it will find happy homes where it gets worn again and a charity will gain in the process – win win.  There’s something rather sad about a piece of clothing, or a pair of shoes / handbag which doesn’t get used… I somewhat feel it’s depriving it of a purpose.

Having seen some photographs of ‘urban life’ in the weekly photo challenge I was inspired to snap this, I love the way all the hangers appear to be3 spilling out of the room; you can also see work folders, cuddly toys, cds and (though I gave up alcohol at Easter and haven’t returned) aging bottles… kinda seems to be a reasonable expression of a young working urban mummy…

Enjoy the pic, I’m diving back into the heap to sort it out a bit more!

Hanger escape!!!



{October 30, 2011}   Moving on (1st look at apologies)

The beautifully illustrated and written book “Zen Shorts” by Jon J Muth features a story about carrying a burden…

Two traveling monks reached a town where there was a young woman waiting to step out of her sedan chair. The rains had made deep puddles and she couldn’t step across without spoiling her silken robes. She stood there, looking very cross and impatient. She was scolding her attendants. They had nowhere to place the packages they held for her, so they couldn’t help her across the puddle.

The younger monk noticed the woman, said nothing, and walked by. The older monk quickly picked her up and put her on his back, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other side. She didn’t thank the older monk, she just shoved him out of the way and departed.

As they continued on their way, the young monk was brooding and preoccupied. After several hours, unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “That woman back there was very selfish and rude, but you picked her up on your back and carried her! Then she didn’t even thank you!”

“I set the woman down hours ago,” the older monk replied. “Why are you still carrying her?”

Although zen readings are (I believe) linked to Buddhist beliefs, nevertheless I feel that other spiritual writing can be of interest in any spiritually aware life – irregardless of the personal beliefs you hold.

I think we can find biblical parallels with this story of setting down a load permanently; first I think of the story of the adulterous woman (John 8v1-11).  Things I notice about this bit

  • Lots of people were ready to accuse & condemn this woman

Jesus had been at the Mount of Olives but he returned to teach in the Temple and “Swarms of people came to him”.  Can you imagine this bustling busy 1st century temple, how busy it would have been?  Jewish law maintained that regular sacrifices had to be made in the temple, sometimes on a daily basis so there was no way this would have been a quite contemplative place.  So, in full view of everyone the religious leaders pull in this accused woman, announcing her misdeeds.

  • Jesus was wholly righteous, he could have condemned this woman…

…but he didn’t!  He asked if someone, anyone, could come forward and say “I’ve not messed up at all”, he invited the person who could say that to condemn this woman.  The only one who could, in good faith, accuse and condemned the adulterous woman (whom the religious leaders claim was caught red-handed) was Jesus.

  • The only one who can accuse and condemn us is Jesus…

…but he doesn’t!  Now I’ve spent a decent percentage of my young adult life effectively feeling fairly guilty for some of the poor choices I’ve made, and the paths I’ve walked down so this one is a bitter pill for me to swallow.  I want to argue back at it, ‘but Lord, Father, you can’t mean me!  But what about…’  I can see him saying ‘yeah, I know about that… and that…but it is finished’  There’s something me that sometimes still wants to argue … but as I try to get deeper wrestling with God’s word I’m trying to more and more let the truth of tetelestai sink in.

  • We are forgiven, but we need to stop doing what we did before.

It’s been said before, but repentance, saying sorry to God means a complete turning around.  Now, moment of personal honesty here, I’m an ex-smoker… ex for just under a month and I’ve tried quitting before so I’m not hanging up any banners about it just yet.  But, it was as if smoking was the thing from my ‘old life’ I was keeping back for me.  As if I was saying ‘okay God, I’ll go more regularly to Church because I like the worship and it’s good for my daughter, I’ll stop the children in my class saying omg [this is still a work in progress] and I’ll live my life for you… but I’ll do it with a cigarette in my hand.’

That’s not really how repentance, and being a ‘prodigal’ works now is it?

Saying sorry means the actions as well as the words; I try to impress this on children whom I teach.  Saying sorry for talking over the teacher means very little if they continue to do so.  Likewise, apologising to another child for not letting them join in the game whilst continuing to ignore them in the playground does not work.  I try to do this with my own daughter, who knows the word ‘sorry’ and usually knows when it’s appropriate to say it (and can be quicker to apologise than her own mummy!) but this doesn’t always mean the behaviour she apologises for stops (she’s only 4 so she’s learning all this).

As I try to educate children, my own and those I am responsible for I need to remember in my own life that apology without actions is just paying lip service to social conventions… and that’s the kind of ‘ritual’ I think really sticks in the divine throat… he looks at the heart and wants meaning.

1 Samuel 16:7
But God told Samuel, “Looks aren’t everything. Don’t be impressed with his looks and stature. I’ve already eliminated him. God judges persons differently than humans do. Men and women look at the face; God looks into the heart.”



{October 19, 2011}   Role Model

Over the last week there’s been a reasonable amount in the press about Dr Fox MP –  I can agree with some of the sentiments expressed by him about the “hounding” of members of his family (the elderly and children allegedly) and I’m not entirely sure that the collected media has a right to sit in judgement over individuals (particularly since the phone hacking scandal) an interesting point is raised.  Those in the public eye ought to be seen as role models.

I don’t hold to the sentiment that those in politics or other ‘professionals’ are a different sort of people (it seems easy to lapse into a ‘them and us’ scenario), but precisely because they are no different to you or I they should demonstrate a kind of role model to which others might aspire.  I can’t (and I won’t) get into the details of the Dr. Fox situation, I don’t really know them, or him.  In a way though, despite being found to have broken ministerial code there is something redeemable in the character Dr Fox presents… he did something wrong, he ‘fessed up, he apologised and he took on board the consequences of his actions.

It’s hard to take the punishment or come to understand the consequences of our actions – harder still to see that sometimes those consequences stretch further than ourselves.

As part of my on-going study and training I’m undertaking an M Ed. the current module is all about becoming a ‘reflective practitioner’ (which is partly the inspiration for trying to get myself into some form of discipline over keeping a journal).  The module, from my initial readings, seems to be about personally examining events within your classroom to ask ‘why’ things happened as they did, and to discover differing possibilities of how things might roll in the future.  It also requires a degree of self-examination, asking of yourself why you responded in a certain way.  The readings (so far) suggest that we all bring our own values/attitudes/experiences/perspectives to the table when we enter the professional arena (and that’s not limited to just teaching) but just as we do the pupils/children/clients/customers/colleagues also do… some situations can result in ‘clashes’ just because we’re coming from differing perspectives.

So I’m trying to think (as part of all this) how I can learn to be a better role model in the way I express myself, explain things and respond to people (children and adults) in the workplace.

There’s been some interesting discussions of late where I work; surrounding behaviour of children and those attitudes / sentiments we unconsciously condone or support by tacitly accepting them as “well that’s real life”… I wonder if it’s ‘ok’ to use that line, to argue that point?  Hand on heart, I don’t feel that just because something ‘is’ we can always successfully argue that it ‘should be’ that way… the tough but is navigating those two frontiers – drawing from what we know, and what we are given and progressing / improving / challenging / extending into what things could be.  But all the while that striving needs to be tempered with what God says should be…  As Robbie Williams sings “I sit and talk to God, but he just laughs at my plans…”

But friends, that’s exactly who we are: children of God. And that’s only the beginning. Who knows how we’ll end up! What we know is that when Christ is openly revealed, we’ll see him—and in seeing him, become like him. All of us who look forward to his Coming stay ready, with the glistening purity of Jesus’ life as a model for our own.

[1 John 3.2]

Me, being me, I did a quick search for what the Bible may have to say about being a role model; there’s bits about being ‘models of goodness’ (Titus 2.1), we were made for ‘God-modeled love’ (1 Corinthians 6.16) and not trading God in for the latest model (2 Chronicles 13.10) but I thought 1 John just hit the nail on the head.  Again, as I read it can be challenging – we become like those we hang around with… you can sometimes see it in people who’ve been married a long time, or close friends, or even characteristics between parent and child which are not always genetics.  Makes me think, who do I choose to spend time with?  And, how much time do I make to actually ‘be’ with God?  If he’s what I say I am aiming at and for, then do I walk the talk?  The words of Steve Chalke from a Faithworks talk years ago when I was a teenager ring in my head at times like this “The words are easy… but the actions are hard.” 

I’m challenged as I read this and work on writing this, and understanding my thoughts on these matters… I need to make sure that I don’t allow these thoughts to be lost, I don’t want to run the risk of shooting these ideas into the vast emptiness of cyberspace and fail to let them fill me, fill my life and my actions.  But everything now is like a heavy beat, urging me on – and you may not believe it, but it’s a heavier beat than any I heard in my raving days…

But that, the raving days, is another story… and I should shower before The Fades comes on BBC3!



et cetera