Monday, 19 September 2011

Autumn leaves, new beginnings and improved thoughts.

The air has a snap now. No more balmy days. The rain and wind was tearing around on Friday shaking the windows and battering on the panes. I have taken out my brown duffel, too heavy for summer and too light for winter but just right for now, for these 2 months (or just one) of not-so-warm, not-so-cold weather. I am not a fan of snowy weather, the darkness and endless cold presses down and I sit inside almost afraid of the weather outside.

Autumn has a different flavour though - a new beginning unlike the lightening of spring but more like the start of new school year. New notebooks. New ways of thinking and for me a new job. But more of that another time. I have started reading a Bible in a Year, and started in September because starting in January nine months late is too depressing for words. So I started where I am suppose to be and have been reading Isaiah. From about ch 40.

I like Isaiah very much because it tells me that :-

God is Big.
God is Powerful.
That He Saves to the Uttermost.
That He has Plans. And He carries them through.
That we are small.
But He is Big and Awesome and Righteous.
That we are sinful.
But that He Loves and Forgives and Saves.

And when I am mired in disappointment or weariness or just plain old sin and petty-mindedness, it wakes me up, opens my eyes, renews my mind, and gives me hope. So I am enjoying these autumn days, with the need to stay warm again, and wear my brown duffel, drink hot chocolate, re-watch Little Dorrit, savour the new Jane Eyre and think of God as He actually Is.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Remember to say Thank You.

They are trailing in happy profusion on my dining room table. White. Purple. Green. Small and pretty. Striking out. Dancing fronds. Glass vase holding them all together with water to keep them happy.

Together they say thank you. Together they make me say: "Thank you Lord- I did it. But only because you were with me helping me".

My goodbye-to-being-a-GP registrar-hello-to-being-a-GP flowers. I am on holiday at the moment but worked my last day at my training practice on Tuesday. In about 10 days, I start my new job as an Academic GP Fellow working for Aberdeen University- which consists of 4 days research and one day of GP in each week. And I am happy about it.

And I am thankful. Hopeful of the future but not because of some great success or ability on my part but because God was with me and is still with me. With me, when I complained to him that he wasn't with me, with me when I failed exams, with me when I was sick, with me when things were going well.

So these beautiful flowers say to me "Remember to say thank you".

Thursday, 15 September 2011

"Howards End is on the Landing" by Susan Hill.

I found "Howards End is on the Landing" by Susan Hill in Waterstones yesterday and what a find it is - "I decided to spend a year reading only books already on my shelves for several reasons..I sometimes wonder if the books came into this house or if the house grew around them. Either way, they feel as organic a part of it as the beams, the Aga in the kitchen, the wood burner in the sitting room, or the old pine wardrobe that arrived in half a dozen sections and had to be assembled once it was in the right bedroom."

Books are indeed the decor of my flat- I decorate with bookshelves, and adorn with second hand copies or with a beautiful-with-etching new copy. The good ones are each a little world, taking you back to where you were when you first read it (rattling through India by train to Agra reading all of Jane Austen) or taking you forward providing some new insight.

On the internet :-
"The start of my journey also coincided with my decision to curtail my use of the internet, which can have an insidious. corrosive effect. Too much internet usage fragments the brain and dissipates concentration so that after a while one's ability to spend long focussed hours immersed in a single subject becomes blunted....The internet can have a pernicious influence on reading because it is full of book-related gossip and chatter on which it is fatally easy to waste time that should be spent paying close careful attention to the books themselves, whether writing them or reading them."

She never said a truer word- and here I am writing this on Facebook. And on my blog. But some fasting needs to take place with my internet use. My powers of concentration were greater as a teenager and I do think it was the lack of television and computer use.

Susan Hill explains further:-
"Rationing it strictly gave me back more than time. Within a few days, my attention span increased again, my butter-fly brain settled down and I was able to spend longer periods concentrating on single topics, difficult long books, subjects requiring my full focus. It was like diving into a deep cool Ocean after flitting about in the shallows, Slow Reading as against Gobbling Up."

However that is only the first few gems. Our reaction to individual books is so personal - and it is heart-warming, like sitting by a fire in winter with cocoa to read of her personal and extremely well-read history and thoughts on different literature. Harry Potter and Dickens. PG Wodehouse and Enid Blyton. Poetry and Pop-Up books. She is not snobbish about literature. The only thing it needs (boring, I know) is an index and then you could look up what she thinks about every individual (and there are many) book that she mentions.

I have only just started it- but it is splendid and soothing at the same time. A September Holiday leaves-turning- brown rainy afternoon, Read, if ever there was one.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

The Prime of a Charity Shop Owner

Miss Rhoda Mackensie was a lady who prided herself on the quality of her goods. They had to be neat and clean and if they were particularly old they required the air of an "antique". China was always welcome, but must be truly fine, no chips and no old pieces from the supermarket. The literature had to be good quality too, no trashy novels and she prized old dusty hardbacks. The only things that she liked dusty were the old books but she dusted them thoroughly anyway.

On this particular September morning, she arose early, made tea and surveyed the quantity of bin liners that had arrived yesterday following a family leaving town. She was resigned to sorting through the detritus of people's lives, sifting out the rubbish and the unsellable. There was nothing so unlikeable as the notion that a Charity shop was a dumping ground for the clutter of the masses. However, there was enormous satisfaction in un-earthing a treasure, that could be cleaned and polished if necessary and then displayed to best advantage. Just last week, a lady had left half a dozen bin liners and buried in the depths of one, was a beautiful antique mirror that only required some dusting and polishing. It sold that very day.

Glancing at the display cabinet towards the back of the shop, she sighed. Yesterday the set of Wedgewood had so nearly sold, except for the fact that Mrs Smith, a volunteer in her 70s had dropped the teapot of the set behind the counter smashing it just before the customer paid. The lady had flounced out the shop highly indignant and Mrs Smith had succombed to hysterics, calming down only after multiple cups of tea had been made and consumed. Charity shop volunteers of course were never sacked. Perhaps the set should be separated out, and someone might choose to buy only the plates. Or perhaps I might buy the tea-cups myself, Miss Mackensie thought to herself. She finished her cup of tea taking careful sips.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Some re-writing of history.

Since writing a first Travels with Luke letter I have discovered after doing some reading that my dating of when Luke was written, as after Paul's death is not accurate at all! Particularly in view of the fact that Paul was still in prison at the end of Acts, and this would probably therefore indicate that Luke and Acts were written before his death and also before the great persecution under Nero had broken out. So I am going to re-write it, unsurprisingly! More research is certainly needed but I like the basic idea.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Travels with Luke : Beginnings of an Idea

My dear Theophilus,

I was so thankful to receive your recent letter. You were right to assume that I am still in Rome. I have been here these 6 years now. As you mentioned in your letter it is now almost 4 years since our brother Paul was executed. I have remained in the city but it has at times been most dangerous for Christians and so I have often stayed in various places because of the persecution. And so I am especially pleased that your letter reached me, via your friends who kindly carried it to me. It has been a great pleasure to be re-united with Salome and Marcus, and news of you has lightened my heart.

My medical work continues to give me plenty to do - I mostly visit various patients who hear of me by word of mouth, but also, people come to me where ever I am staying and I can administer various treatments. However as you mention in your letter I have considered the possibility of moving partly because it has been on my heart to commence the research which I have discussed with you before. I would very much like to hear from you the particular questions that you have regarding the life and work of our Lord but also questions regarding what happened after the Resurrection and the travels of our brother Paul. I wish also to discuss this endeavour with brothers and sisters here in the city. I do believe in order to carry out my research properly and well I would have to travel. I send this letter back to you with great affection. May you remain steadfastly in Him.

Your brother, Luke