Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Portsmouth--Saturday 4th August 2012

Ten days ago, on Saturday, 4th August, I joined the group from Langley Parish on a trip to Portsmouth.  The Christ the Worker congregation organised the hiring of a coach/bus for the trip.  Being unsure of how long I would need to walk to the church, I left home about 7:50 am—to make sure I gave myself plenty of time to get to the church by 8:30 am.  I need not have worried, because I was there by 8:10 am.  A couple of ladies were already there, and as we stood awaiting the coach, other parishioners joined us. 
My tour guides "Bea & Will"
       The Maverick was busy at work for the day, so I attached myself to “Will & Bea” for the day.  They had previously lived in Southport, which is fairly close to Portsmouth.  They were very familiar with the south coast and I felt like I had personal tour guides. 
       An interesting fact about Portsmouth is that it is the birthplace of Charles Dickens. 
       Some people went off shopping down at the Gunwharf Quay, which is overlooked by the Spinnaker Tower.  Others went to the historic dockyards to see the ships:  the Mary Rose which was King Henry VIII warship; Admiral Nelson’s flag ship, HMS Victory and the first iron hulled warship, HMS Warrior.  The Royal Navy Museum is also at the dockyards.  http://www.welcometoportsmouth.co.uk/index.htm
However, “Will & Bea” and I went eastward along the beach front toward the castle ruins and the D-Day museum. 
Leading into the castle
        At the castle/fort was a coffee shop, where we stopped for cappuccino.   We wondered around enjoying the wind, watching the boats, ferries and hovercraft traverse the waters between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight.  “Will” filled me in on some of the history of the area as we stood on the ramparts of the castle, overlooking the coast. 
From post card of  Panel 7
From Postcard of Panel 15
       The hi-light of the day for me was visiting the D-Day Museum, which houses the Overlord Embroidery.  It seems that the Overlord Embroidery is one of those unintentional secrets from the public, as most folk haven’t heard of it.  This impressive masterpiece of design and stitchery is massive—34 panels that reach about 268 feet in length.  Post cards of the panels are available for purchase, which is probably the best way to get a souvenir of it—or a book.  I found myself wanting to reach out and touch this beautiful work of art, and realised it was under glass.  A very good thing to keep it in pristine condition. 
       Inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry in France, the Overlord Embroidery was commissioned by Lord Dulverton of Batsford and designed by Sandra Lawrence.  Each of the 34 panels depicts a scene is the story of the Normandy Landings on D-Day 6th June 1944.  Each military leader is easily identifiable, even though facial features are created with fabric and stitching.  If you want to read more about the Embroidery, you can go to:  http://www.ddaymuseum.co.uk/
       After the D-Day Museum, we went for lunch and then headed west, toward the Mary Rose and HMS Victory.  Although my walking routine has increased by energy levels, I found myself getting tired as the board walk is miles long. 
Portsmouth Catherdral Chancel
     Sunny, breezy and refreshing, we made our way toward the docks.  A group of actors in period costumes were handing out brochures for a local theatre, so that added to the character of the day.    
       Since “Bea” and I were flagging a bit, instead of the ships, we detoured and went to Portsmouth Cathedral.  As we walked toward the Cathedral, we noticed a wedding group outside the church.  The bells were ringing, signifying the wedding was over.  We made our way inside and found that there was also an art show in the foyer.  That was truly a delight for me, as a holder of a Bachelor in Fine Arts degree. 
       As we sat for a few minutes resting, the bride and groom—a royal naval officer in uniform—came back into the church for more photos.  “Bea” surreptitiously snapped a photo of the couple.  I stuck to taking photos of the chancel and stained glass windows.  On the way out I took photos of the foyer.  http://www.portsmouthcathedral.org.uk/
Portsmouth Cathedral Foyer
       Since we had to meet back at the dropping off point by 4:00 pm, we moseyed our back to a bench and enjoyed the view from the hill overlooking the board walk.  Finally we walked back to the board walk, where I found a place to have hot miniature donuts.  Yes, I did share them. 
       It did my heart and soul good to be out, exploring, learning and fellowshipping with good friends.  I know I’ll go to Portsmouth again, because it is a beautiful place and there is so much of historical significance to see.  I’m now looking forward to the next opportunity for an outing. 
        Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”



Just a note:  in the “No Cooking Tonight” post, I wrote that Alice was from Shang Hi.  I need to make two corrections. 
1)      Shang Hi was incorrectly spelled.  Thank you Alan N. for bringing this to my attention.  The correct spelling is Shanghai. 
2)      Alice is not from Shanghai, but rather Beijing. 
As a person who aspires to be a competent communicator, I felt obliged to make the correction.  I have actually made the correction on the post, but wanted to bring attention to it.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

Thursday, 9 August 2012

Changing my mind--walking it out

My alarm went off at 7:00 am.  I wasn’t deep into a dream, yet it always takes a few minutes for the fog of sleep to thin sufficiently for me to get up.  In bare feet I padded into the kitchen to take my morning medicines.  Looking out the kitchen window, seeing the sun and feeling a easy breeze sighing through the open window, I determined that I had to go for a walk. 
Actually I’d felt more awake at 5:30 am when I awakened by the nudge of nature to go to the toilet.  But since it wasn’t time to get up, I went back to bed.  At 7:10 am, that bed was sure tempting—especially since my husband was tucked up and snoozing. 
What deterred me was the memory of Tuesday.  I’d procrastinated so long that I missed walking.  And I wasted a whole day—because I was so sleepy and lethargic. 
The Lord has been surrounding me with reminders of His will for my life; the calling on my life.  He has let me know that if I want to reclaim my life, my productivity and accomplish dreams, I have to renew my mind; change the way I think—which will lead to a change of habits.  I’ve probably mentioned this before. 
I’m so glad that we now have a “sky-box” which receives the satellite signals for several Christian television stations.  This means I get to watch messages from conferences, Christian movies, and especially some of my favourite teacher; Joseph Prince and Joyce Meyers. 
Recently Joyce Meyers has been teaching on the battle of the mind.  She made the remark that we need to learn to ignore our feelings; “Feelings don’t even get a vote!” 
Another source of encouragement and inspiration is the book I’ve been reading/reviewing the last couple of months. 
 A few years ago I bought the book Never Say Diet by Chantel Hobbs.  (Richard Simmons’s best seller, also entitled Never Say Diet, was written in 1982.  I read it years ago.) 
When I first got Chantel Hobbs’s book, I read the chapter titles.  Chapter Nine is; Phase 3: Make Food Boring.  Well, at that point in time I thought; “No Way.”  I wasn’t THAT desperate.  So the book went into a cupboard.  And it stayed there. 
Now I am so uncomfortable in this overweight body.  I prayed:  “Almighty Father, you know my heart.  I cannot face another trip around this mountain.  I want my life to shine for You.  Being overweight and unfit shows that my life does not manifest the fruit of self-disciple.  I feel embarrassed, ashamed and guilty.  I can’t do this again without You.” 
I suppose that I was drawn to Chantel Hobbs’s book because of another book I’d been reading: The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory.  I’d had so much junk food whilst in Florida that I just wanted to eat very healthy for a while—just fruit, vegetables and lean meat.  Through a magazine article, I was led to Susan Gregory’s book.
Both Susan Gregory and Chantel Hobbs emphasize the importance making a quality decision.  Susan Gregory writes:  “Your soul can be transformed to the degree that you renew your mind, change your attitude and conform to the word of God.”  The Daniel Fast, page 45.  She also writes:  “A quality decision is one that is firm, deliberate and entered into with consideration and forethought.  When you make a quality decision, you plan to employ the full strength of your will to follow through.” The Daniel Fast page 58. 
Chantel Hobbs writes that her weight loss came out of desperation for change.  Her change began with exercising.  My determination to get moving was kick-started reading her story.  But God also provided me with another reason to push myself. 
About once a quarter, The Vicar asks me to attend a Parish Staff meeting.  This is a time where I can present any questions or suggestions to the other two vicars in the parish and Parish council members.  Around the middle of July I was told the next Staff meeting was on 31st July.  Christ the Worker Church, where the staff meeting was to be held, is about a mile from our flat.  I wasn’t accustomed to walking that far.  But I made up my mind that I would walk to Christ the Worker every day for about 17 or 18 days, so that by 31st July, the walk wouldn’t leave me exhausted and falling asleep.  It was a good goal, and it worked.
Chantel Hobbs says that to begin with, she treated exercising as her “new job”.  She gave herself no excuses, no questions asked.  She set the example, but more than that, she showed me HOW to change my attitude. 
In July I realised that I wanted to be capable of walking several miles a day.  There are Ramblers Groups here in the UK, and this might be something I aspire to.  Joining a club will depend upon whether or not there is a group around here.
My next goal is to lose ten to 14 pounds by 3rd November.  That’s the day our youngest daughter, “Floss” is marrying her lovely man, “Harry.” 
Walking in the mornings is best for me.  For one, I have the most energy for the day when I first get up.  Secondly, if I walk first thing, it’s done for the day.  Another thing is that I actually feel more awake and have more energy through out the day when I walk almost first thing.
Waiting to have coffee, or breakfast or trying to read my Bible first is a means of procrastination.  Therefore, getting my kit on and out the door shortly after taking my medicine is the best habit.  Once it gets too dark in the mornings, or the weather really is too bad, I can use the Walking with George Foreman DVDs. 
I’ve already been able to increase the distance I walk.  I’d like to walk about three miles a day.  I thought I would get bored with a set walk.  However, if I just want to get it over with, then I can do it without thinking.  But the area is large enough that if I want to change it up by walking along another street, I can do that. 
I’ve been increasing the use of the MP3 player The Maverick got me a couple of years ago for my birthday.  I have lots of music on it—but so far the best albums to walk to are by Michael W. Smith. 
The Maverick is thoroughly pleased with my progress, supportive and encouraging.  We’re both hoping I’ll get strong enough to start bicycling again. 
As James writes:  “So also faith, if it does not have works (deeds and actions of obedience to back it up), by itself is destitute of power (inoperative, dead).”  James 2:17 Amplified Bible. 
So, I’m working on not only changing my thoughts, but changing my actions.  I’m looking for opportunities to walk.  If I serve my body’s need for exercise, it will help me serve the Lord and others better.  And that is my goal.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

Monday, 6 August 2012

No Cooking tonight...

                        “I don’t have to cook dinner tonight....I don’t have to cook dinner tonight...”  When I woke up on Wednesday, 11th July, that was the first thought on my mind.  I was looking forward to an evening out.  Not going to a restaurant, as pleasant as that is.  Rather, it was a Chinese meal cooked by a young lady known as “Alice.”  Alice is from Beijing, and I can’t pronounce her Chinese name. 
                        Alice is a student at Burnell University in Uxbridge.  She is friends with “Will” & “Bea”, who were missionaries in China for a few years.  They all attend St. Francis Church.  I work on the Around Langley Magazine with “Will.”
                        “Will & Bea” acted as hosts, whilst Alice used their kitchen to cook.  There were four couples at the table.  The menu included Chicken cooked in Coke, spicy tofu and vegetables, tomato and scrambled egg, egg friend rice and dumplings.  For dessert, Alice had prepared tiramisu, but without the alcohol.  There was also ice cream, which was followed by Chinese tea. 
                        We are planning to have Alice, “Will & Bea” over for dinner—something American or South African.  Then Alice can wake up and say, “I don’t have to cook dinner tonight.”
                        Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
                        “Lady Helene”  

Ironic circumstances

In May, whilst writing about line-drying clothes, I wrote:  “It could be worse, I know.  At least The Maverick isn’t asking me to wash all the clothes by hand in our bath tub! “ 
Little did I know that might become an eventuality;  not The Maverick asking me stomp the dirt out of the dirty laundry in a tub of hot water.  Rather, the need to use the bath tub for laundry purposes.                   
In July I was busy taking some dry shirts off of the clothes line, when I heard the washing machine begin labouring during a spin cycle.  A loud bang was followed by clunking.  OH MY!  I immediately stopped the machine, took out the load of washed whites and put them into the dryer.  I had a feeling the washer had just ended its life of productivity.  If we were blessed, it would be something like a belt snapping.
I told The Maverick the news upon his arrival home from work.  (Work—what a lovely word.)  We had plans to go out that evening, so he couldn’t examine it until a day or two later.  It turned out that the exam turned out to be an autopsy.  The part to repair it would cost as much as a new machine.  The machine was about twenty years old.
Jon-David, (Maverick’s best friend) came and recovered the motor.  He’s blessed with mechanical skills and saves useful parts.  
The Maverick made the mission of shopping for a new machine his homework and spent almost two weeks scouring the internet to find a high-quality machine with the best price.  On 27th July he placed the order from an on-line business.  With hope, we had expected the new one today (6th August).  A phone with a sales person of the business told The Maverick that from the date of order, it would be seven to ten working days.  Since they didn’t have the particular make and model in stock, they had to order it from the warehouse.  Deliveries are made to our particular area on Tuesdays.  SO, it looks like we have another week without a washing machine. 
Our daughter, “Floss” said we could take any washing we need over to her place; Maverick took a load of necessary things over last Wednesday.  And so far, I haven’t felt desperate enough to throw any of the mounting garments into the bathtub.  A little patience and another week and I’ll putting a new machine through it’s paces—or is that its spin cycles! 
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
Lady Helene