Tuesday, August 18, 2015

For The Love...................


As most of you will know, I was lucky enough to be chosen to be one of the #500  - the launch team from around the globe, for Jen Hatmaker's new book. And in the process of doing just that, we, the #496 (women) and the #bandoffour (men) have become living proof of what community can do to people. The support, the laughter, the generosity, the love - just overwhelming. What an enormous blessing it has been. So much fun too.

But today is not about us. The 500 will continue to grow as a community and so help me, if I could, I would be going to the launch party in Texas at Jen's house in September. Unfortunately, Texas has failed to move closer to the middle of England, so I can't be there.


So, people, without further ado, let me introduce you to For The Love - you are going to just love this book. In fact, you are going to read it over and over and you will probably suggest everyone reads it. And possibly use it in a book club as well. 

It is that good. 

You know, I adore Pinterest. I am totally inspired by all the ideas and the things and the crazy complicated stuff like dolphin shaped sandwiches. How to up-cycle, down cycle, create, decorate, dress, do make up, braid hair - have you TRIED braiding your own hair? Huh? How to holiday, throw parties, decorate the Christmas tree. How to ......................

Well, just about everything. 

Weddings. Christenings. Thanksgiving. Guy Fawkes. 

Flawless perfection. 

I am so full of good intentions. 

And add to this divine source of inspiration, the targets we are beset with in every phase of our lives. Work, play, sport, weight, health, schooling, subjects, IT, you name it. We seem to have endless government targets and standards which are so out of touch with reality as to be useless. Targets or levels which never seem to take into account individuality and personal talents. Or the fact that it is perfectly okay to be doing some things well, just well, not outstandingly.

You see, what Jen is doing in this book is providing us with an understanding that it is absolutely fine to kick some things right off our beam.

Things that actually have no worth in a true and honest world. It is not possible to have perfection in life. Our kids are fallible, just as we are. Human. Stuff goes wrong. Grace comes from understanding truth, that our best is good enough, and that He who judges us is beyond reproach and is not looking at attainment targets. He is in the business of Kingdom building. Community building. 

This then is worthwhile work, isn't it?


Believe me, you will laugh till you cry - you will cry real ugly tears, and you will wish you had read all the words long ago. 

You have permission to rest in the knowledge that you are seen, you are loved and that loving is the best way we can influence the world and its future generations. 

It is the stuff of which communities are built. Like the #500. 

You. Have. No. Idea. 

The hashtags which have emerged have had us rolling around the world. The community is real. Meet ups happen globally. Mug swaps. T-shirts, Armbands, Bookclubs. Writing circles. Healthy eating. And so many more. From 500 people who have banded together. It works. It is entirely possible that a baby will be born into the launch team today. Community is what makes us civilised, after all. And anything we can do to grow or improve our world is just so good. 

The book launches today in the US. Here, however, it does not launch until the end of September, the 24th,  for some TOTALLY UNKNOWN AND INCONVENIENT REASON. I couldn't even leave an Amazon review on the book. I could on the Kindle, but not on the book. 

I will be giving away two copies of the book to my readers, and am happy to open the giveaway now - just leave a comment and I will add you to the list, on the understanding that we will have to wait if you happen to be anywhere which is not the States. The giveaway will stay open until the end of the week. Sunday 23 August. 

If you can't wait, it is selling for a really good price on the Kindle, so off you go......

If this is the first time you have heard of Jen Hatmaker, I cannot recommend her more highly. A blogger, pastor, speaker, author, mother and inspiration to so many. Read The Worst End of School Year Mom Ever and you will see what I mean. Her books, Interrupted and Seven, are superb. And now we have For The Love. 


(PS: I cannot claim to have made the gorgeous graphics thingamies - nor can I tell you exactly who made what, but I do know that the gymnast one is made by the uber talented Jenny Garwood! They were all made for us to use as we chose - so many! 
I will also say that I was sent a pre-publication copy of the book and a pdf as well as part of the #ForTheLove book launch team. )

Friday, August 07, 2015

Snippets, and banishing CoCo.........


The sun is making an as yet feeble attempt to shine today, but I live in hope. Apparently summer is on its way back after going AWOL for a long while, and this weekend could be bright. Warm. 

How lovely that would be. 

This is England, however, and the weather does what it feels like doing, with scant regard for things like SUMMER. 


The beans are so late this year - the courgettes are not. My glut continues, but, at the farm stall this morning, I heard that for many people, this has been a disastrous year for courgettes. (Zucchini). Black fly. Thankfully, I have not had that, and there is a lot of courgette rice already frozen and piles waiting to spiralise too. I absolutely love spiralising vegetables and stir frying them in a little coconut oil! Do any of you spiralise? 


And my garden grows on. 

The days here are slower at the moment, but things always need to be sorted, and we have now ordered Mum new glasses - after 2.5hrs of testing at the opticians. I cannot fault the level of care they displayed. We were, however, expiring by the time we had paid and been given a collection appointment. Coffee was almost needed intravenously. And, while waiting for Mum, I found it necessary to invest in a little new make up too. 

As in, I had run out of blusher, and so help me, I do not do glitter and the lack of creme cheaper blushers was a disaster. Older skin is better with creme blush instead of powder, apparently, and heaven knows we do not need to look any older than we already do. So I ventured into new territory, aka the Clinique department. I have used other brands - especially Lancome, Estee Lauder and Christian Dior for most of my adult life, (Mary Quant was the VERY FIRST make up range I tried. Does anyone remember Mary Quant?) until I got older and then Oil of Olay and its 7 magical effects to delay aging and Max Factor took over. My best. Nothing wrong with them either, but they do powdery glittery blusher, and so help me I will not buy that. Sparkles in one's 60s? Hmmm. 

The crunch came after aqua yesterday. When one is hot and sweaty after exercise and a shower - yes, one is - and one attempts to brush on the cheap powdery blush we resorted to, and then one looks in the car mirror and discovers that one closely resembles CoCo the clown, urgent steps are necessary. 

So, we now have very classy creme blusher. 

And highlighter.

And brow pencil. 

I never was very good at waiting. Patience and I are not close friends. 

The slight hitch with the application of the brow pen revolves around the fact that I need to be wearing my specs to see what I am doing. This rather impedes my progress because my eye brows are behind the glasses. 

Much practice may be necessary. Natalie made it all look so simple in the shop. 


Growing older is not for wimps. 

I do realise that this is not a mentally stimulating post. However, these things are important. One cannot look like CoCo the clown. CoCo Chanel, yes. Clown, no. 

We can think about brain fodder next time. 


Or maybe we can just be outrageous instead. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

The mountains suit me well........

It has been a very busy time here over the past week - especially the weekend. Last Sunday, all 4 of the younger generation members of my family, as in 3 kids and one daughter-in-law, were all in different countries. I have an adventurous family, it seems. Germany, England, Switzerland and New Zealand. 

So there was a fair amount of zapping all over the place, which means that I am still recovering. 

Anyway - more of the "now" later - let me just finish this lot of Swiss photos before I forget! 

The rain was very good for Marge's garden, and by the second week, the sun was shining and everything grew over night, and bloomed. And her garden is spectacular. 


There is a new cable way being built up the mountain, and one of the huge carparks is where all the bits and pieces are laid out, rather like a giant Meccano set, and the huge helicopters fly up and down the mountain, carrying all the pieces and slotting them together. Incredibly clever, and very efficient too. Fascinating to watch. 

I was outside one day when I heard the helicopter, turned around and just grabbed my phone and snapped a couple of shots. I couldn't see what I was doing because the sun was bright and the eyes are not good, but I captured this.....


The helicopter bringing down one of the old Rotair cable cars from the top of the Alp. This is the home of the world's first rotating cablecars, you see, and they have brand new ones up and running now. 

I was so thrilled that the photo worked, and when you realise that those cable cars hold around 65 people, you will understand that it is not small! 

I popped in to the Benedictine Abbey one day, because my friend Kelli in Oregon wanted to see inside - it is a beautiful place. Huge. Ask me what yodelling nuns sound like inside...... There was a time was found out! 


Very peaceful and quiet on this day though. 


You will all know this view by now. I can't stop taking photos of it. Marge's balcony.  I mean....what can I say? 


The balcony was a nursery this time. In one of her geranium pots hanging on the wall, was a nest, and it had about 5 eggs in it. The chickadees sat on that nest faithfully, and then one day, the feeding started, and the eggs hatched over about 4 days, and we sat inside and took photos of the parents.....

Nature is marvellous, isn't it? 


Another one of my favourite places is the little waterfall. In the forest. It is all flat and easy to get around, and so I had to go, on a hot, hot day. 

I just love it. It is tucked away, and I can always hear the water long before I get there. So then I slipped off my shoes and stuck my feet in the icy mountain water, straight from the glacier up above. And I sat on my rock and just breathed the alpine air, and marvelled that such beauty was there for everyone to share. 

At the same time, there was a school adventure outing in the forest, but bless their cotton socks, they gave me space and kept away while I sat there. 


You know, my sister commented on the fact that, by the time I left, I wasn't falling asleep in the chair all the time. And people said I looked 10 years younger than when I arrived. I actually think I did too. 


Maybe this is why. 



(I got the info re the capacity of the Rotair from the Table Mountain Cape Town wikipedia entry, because I couldn't find the details for Titlis. I assume they are about the same! My sister, by the way, was sent to Cape Town when the cable car opened there, to assist with the launch, and became the living link between the two cablecars!)