Hi all. I hope everyone is well and enjoying a little more freedom as the restrictions ease.
It has been a strange eighteen months! I know a lot of us have been through a tough time. I pray we’ll all come out of it stronger than we were before. I am certainly feeling better these days and am working on getting back out into the world. I say working on it… It is not as easy as I thought it would be. I’ve gotten a bit too used to being indoors and semi-isolated. But I don’t want to stay here. Things have to change.
One of the changes I’m considering is finishing up this blog and moving to podcasting. I feel the need to do something new.
auntyamo.com is more than ten years old. I’ve enjoyed writing about being ‘Just another Christian Woman…” There have been various subjects, blog challenges, guest posts and book reviews. I want to keep that variety and bring other people in to share the new venture with me. And I’m hoping you lovely followers will come with me too 🙂
The working title for my podcast is – Words, Wobbles and Worship. I’ll be talking about and sharing some writing. I’ll also be talking about my wobbles – the physical ones and how I’m working to reduce them, and the emotional ones with regard to my mental health. And of course, it will be underpinned by my love and worship of a faithful God.
So… I’d love to hear from you. You can message me privately, or leave a comment below. Would you listen to a monthly podcast from me? Would you survive if this blog was no more? How about if I threw in some cake? Tempted now?
Please let me know your thoughts. I’d love some feedback.
So finishing this year’s AtoZ Challenge a day late, but I got there. How can I not mention this piece of tech which has been both a blessed provision and the bane of my life for the last year or more!
Pre 2019, to me ‘Zoom’ was a song by Fat Larry’s Band or something Wylie Coyote did. But what would we have done without this communication software during the last year? It’s been a gift. I’ve been at parties with my family in Ireland, we’ve had family chats, writer’s group, prayer meetings, church services, after church fellowship, and I’ve attended some wonderful conferences and workshops. Having said that, Zoom fatigue is a thing. There are days when I’ve wanted to throw the laptop out the window – just so fed up with screen time.
I have enjoyed helping older folk, or those who are not confident with technology to get connected. I think Zoom will be with us for a while, and though many things will go back to being face to face (thank God), even our small church will never have to cancel services due to bad weather. We’ll just revert back to Zoom. However there are a number of people/churches I know who have not had the devices or the confidence to cope with it. Which is why I’d love to get Sunflower Tech up and running. It’s my new idea. You can read about it here. I reckon Zoom [other communication software is available :)] will remain commonplace even after lockdown.
The one thing I will miss if it disappears completely will be attending meetings in my slippers. That’s been the main benefit of Zoom for me!
So that’s the end of the AtoZ Challenge for this year. Thanks so much for reading, Normal service will resume now, with me appearing on the blog at random intervals.
I looked in the mirror the other day and said to myself, I look dreadful for 30! Then I thought, Hang on , I’m nearly 50, I LOOK GREAT! Is 50 old? Cos is isn’t young!
I don’t feel old, although my knees would disagree. Age may only be a number, but next year it’ll be a big one.
I am healthier than I was ten, even twenty years ago. I’m far more active than now, and even though I still struggle with weight, I am dealing with it. I spent a long time pretending it didn’t matter and I didn’t care. It does and I did. So, with age has come personal development, spiritual growth (I hope), physical improvement, aswell as the aching bones and the wrinkles.
It’s the last year of my 40s. I keep thinking I should be making a bucket list, or planning an adventure. All I really want to do is gather family I haven’t seen during lockdown and hug them til they can’t breathe. (Then I’ll let go, promise) There’s nothing like a global pandemic to show us what is important, and how precious every day is.
Psalm 31:15 says, ‘My times are in your hands.’ I believe that. But the context of Psalm 31 is one of extreme danger for David. He is making that statement of trust, in a setting of fear. He is fleeing enemies and looking for refuge. For the first thirteen verses, David describes his situation. Then in verse 14 he says, BUT…
“But I trust in you, Lord; I say, “You are my God.” (v15) My times are in your hands…
My plan as I move towards a new decade should be to trust in the Lord. He has all my days in his hands. What a blessing for this not so young woman 🙂
Most years I have to go searching for X words. I can’t write about Xerxes every year now can I. (Xerxes being the King who Queen Esther is married to in the Old Testament.)
So I found this word – Xenial – pronounced Zee-nee-uhl. Dictionary.com says that one of its meaning is “warm, welcoming, and hospitable.” It is something I have missed being and doing during lockdown. We love to have people over for dinner and coffee. Myself and himself both come from families where there were always family popping in. His family is smaller but he was not completely averse to a houseful. Though a houseful in our family was often a littler fuller.
The context of the original word in Greek refers to hospitality to people from different cultures and origins, (the opposite of xenophobic). Again Dicitonary.com uses a sentence about xenial laws that exist in Greek mythology.
The Bible calls us to be xenial. The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10 is a great example. There are many verses in the Old and New Testaments that tell us to welcome the stranger
T should be for tardiness cos I’ve fallen behind in my A to Z Challenge, but today T is actually for Tallaght. My beloved home town 🙂
Tallaght has had a bad rap over the years, but I for one am proud to have been born and bred there. I was brought up in St. Maelruan’s Park, went to primary school in Our Lady of Loreto GNS (as it was then), and went to secondary school in Old Bawn Community School. I lived in Tallaght until I was 27. I worked in Dublin city centre while I was hairdressing and then worked locally in Xtra Vision on the Greenhills Road and then for The Echo Newspaper before moving to the UK in 1999. But my heart never left Tallaght.
I remember being sent to Reilly’s butchers for chops and I was to tell the butcher they had to be nice ones. (Never knew what that meant). I have a vague recollection of buying a lucky bag in Riordan’s shop in the village, but the shop I remember best is Conlon’s – officially known as The Lilac Centre 🙂 I spent a lot of time walking around the old Tallaght Town Centre. I bought my first record, ‘Hold Me Now’ by the Thompson Twins, in Radio Shack. And every so often, my brother sent me there for new needles for his record player. I bought my lipstick upstairs from the make-up stall and my cigarette (singular), with three matches and a corner of the matchbox from the kiosk. I would go shopping with my mam in H. Williams, until she changed to Dunnes Stores in Kilnamanagh, which was a long walk or a bus ride away if I was meeting her from work. Chips were bought from Borza or Macari’s the odd time, but mostly they were made at home from giant potatoes and cooked in, what would now be considered, a very dangerous deep fat fryer. Halloween costumes were often a black plastic bag and a plastic mask, and McKeowns were always the first to have their tree up for Christmas. I feel blessed to hail from such a place
The Tallaght Flag 🙂
U is for Unknown an ode to Tallaght
If you have never been there, only heard about its faults Took the slagging on the telly with more than a pinch o’ salt If you’ve read the papers saying Tallaght’s just debris Then you’ve never stopped to look and see the beauty I can see
The hills that wrap around it, like the arms of God himself The river running through it, like a vein of purest health The playing fields and football fields of Davis’s and Anne’s The house where Newtown Rangers got its name, proudly still stands
The Sean Walsh Park, the Tymon Park, the Dodder Valley Park Though some might try to ruin them, they are part of Tallaght’s heart Shops and hotels, the Luas line, have made the place a hub But even Shamrock Rovers, could not beat the Hell Fire Club
The Dragon and Ahernes, The Old Mill, that once was Bridget Burkes Places for a pint, to wash away the strain of work The Priory in the Village, St. Maelruan’s up the Road It’s a place you can believe in, no matter what your Holy code
Can you only really love it, if it is where you are from? Can you see past all the negative, if it’s not where you were born? If you’ve never stood in Tallaght, thanking God that it’s your home Then to you maybe this little town will always be unknown
In my first post of this year’s April AtoZ Challenge, I mentioned that I had no specific theme. I’ve shared some flash fiction, some Easter thoughts, I’ve had a bash at some poetry. I also mentioned back in that first post that I would share about a ministry project I’m thinking and praying about.
I want to help individuals and churches get to grips with technology. I reckon Zoom and live streaming of services and conferences is here to stay. I have helped many people get used to Zoom and find their way around YouTube. I have also spoken to a number of people who are sorry they’ve let the internet and smart phones pass them by. One lady I spoke to recently said it never occurred to her that she would regret not being online, but in the last year she has, almost every day. Lockdown meant I couldn’t help her beyond a phone call, and in her case it was not enough. She told me that as soon as Lockdown eases, she wants some lessons. Others I’ve had similar conversations with need me to sit with them and walk/talk them through it. And that’s what I would love to do when Lockdown eases. Help individuals navigate smart devices and connection to the internet, also, help churches who have not been able to, but would like to try streaming services and/or have a social media presence.
I really wanted to name this ministry. I spent ages thinking of all sorts of clever names for it, then it struck me that the name needs to be ‘friendly’ and approachable, rather than cool. So today, S is really for… Sunflower Tech. At the moment it is still an idea, but I wanted a logo/image to focus on as I pray – and this is it. If you’re of the praying persuasion, please do pray for me. And let me know what you think…
btw the beautiful image of the sunflowers is a photograph taken by Graham Morley, who has generously allowed me to use it 🙂
Today’s post is a bit of flash fiction that came from a writing group prompt. I was delighted it was ‘Highly Commended’ in two different writing competitions. One locally here in South Wales, and one at home in Dublin. Hope you enjoy 🙂
The Perfect End to Lockdown
Kay slammed the boot of the car. “That’s it, Janice,” she said. “You wouldn’t get a bus ticket in there now. So, if there’s anything else, you’ll have to put it on your knees.”
“I think that’s it, except for this,” replied Janice, emerging from the house with a dustbuster.
“Well done you. I never would have thought of that,” said Kay, getting into the driver’s seat.
Janice tapped the side of her head. “You see? Watching all those old quiz shows has kept my brain alive.” She opened the back door of the car and a suitcase fell out. Janice picked it up and wrestled it on to the back seat, shoving the dustbuster in and slamming the car door, in one move. “Right,” she said. “That’s definitely it. We have everything.”
Janice got into the car and Kay started the engine. They exhaled a little sigh of pleasure as the engine of Kay’s Ford Escort came to life. “She never lets me down,” she said. “I knew she’d wait patiently.”
“And we’re off,” said Janice, as Kay drove out on to the main road.
Passing familiar landmarks of their hometown, they remarked on them as if they were new. The local pub had had a coat of paint. Much needed, Janice remarked. Old Mr Jenkins’ eyesore of a shed was gone, and a pretty small wooden construction was in its place. The flowers in the park had obviously been tended, and the friends gasped and laughed at the newness of some of the old places.
They drove past Kitty Jenkins’ house and fell silent. Kitty was the only other person they knew who loved crosswords and crocheting as much as they did. They were broken hearted to hear she contracted the virus and died only days later, then was buried with just one or two mourners.
After a while the travellers brightened up again and resumed their lively chat. They came to a junction and stopped at the red light. A police car pulled up in the next lane and Kay could see the occupants looking and pointing to her over-crowded back seat.
“Don’t look at them Kay,” said Janice. “Keep looking straight ahead.”
They sat like statues as the light went amber, then green, and both cars pulled away.
Kay freed the breath she’d been holding. “That was close, that was so close.”
“You know, I’m actually sorry, they didn’t stop us,” said Janice. “I would have loved one of the policemen to say, “And where do you think you’re going madam?” I would have answered, “Anywhere I blazes well want. The Prime Minister said I could.”
Janice cackled with laughter and soon Kay was laughing at the thought of it.
Before long they reached their destination.
“I have been waiting for this day for so long,” said Janice.
“Me too. I can’t quite believe we are here,” replied Kay, looking at the entrance with elation.
There was a queue waiting to be admitted, but they were happy to wait, and when they got to the kiosk, a slightly frazzled looking middle-aged man in a hi-vis jacket snorted a greeting and snapped, “NAME?”.
“Well I’m Kay, and this is my friend Janice.”
“Hello,” Janice sang, leaning across Kay and waving wildly.
“Booking name, I meant.”
“Oh, I am sorry, booked in the name of Kay Cavandish.”
“And what have you got with you?”
“Suitcases in the back seat there. A couple of small bags of electrical items.”
“Anything in the boot?” He snapped again.
“All cardboard,” said Kay still smiling
“OK,” he grunted, “Skip four for the cardboard, electrical items next in six and the cases in the last one, number ten.”
“Thank you so much,” said Kay.
“Yes, thanks for your help,! said Janice throwing herself across Kay again.
As they drove through the main entrance of the Recycling Centre Janice said, “I think the council staff are getting younger and ever more pleasant as time goes on.”
“Oh, I agree, said Kay. “They must be glad to be back here, because I certainly am.”
“Me too,” said Janice dreamily as they approached skip number four.
I have a terrible habit of waiting for inspiration to strike before I sit down to write, even though I know, I should just sit down and do some work! Thriller writer Helen Hanson, is quoted as saying, “Inspiration is the windfall from hard work and focus. Muses are too unreliable to keep on the payroll.”
When I started writing, it was so much easier. Or it felt easier. I couldn’t wait to write. I had stories bursting out of me. These days, they are often dragged out of me. As I’ve mentioned before, lockdown has not been as productive for me as it has for others, but I’m not hitting myself over the head about it 😀
As tomorrow is a new school term, I’m going to use it to get back into a more structured week. So I’m going to complete the next quarter on my 2021 writing plan and I’m going to turn up at my desk regularly to see what happens! I love this quote from Peter Prange. “Instead of discussing with myself every morning whether I feel inspired or not, I step into my office every day at nine sharp, open the window and politely ask the muse to enter and kiss me. Sometimes she comes in, more often she does not. But she can never claim that she hasn’t found me waiting in the right place.”
Not sure I will be there every day, and I doubt I’ll make 9am but I intend to go in search of inspiration rather than wait for it to find me. Have you any tips for me? Where do you get your inpspiration from???