Wednesday Wonders: a bit of luxury

I do like a latte, but I especially enjoy it when the Christmas specials come out and I can have a gingerbread latte. Above is a picture of one a had in the week before Christmas, usually there’s nutmeg on top but, as you can see, this one came with gingernut biscuits. To say I was excited is an understatement! I love a gingernut biscuit, so to have them on top of my favourite latte – could life get any better? I think we safely say, for me, this was a bit of luxury. Maybe not for others but it was for me.

My first gingerbread latte of the year was my sign that Christmas was close, the season was beginning. However, over recent years there have been places where gingerbread latte has been available throughout the year, and I would have it whenever I saw it. So it hasn’t been as special this year as it has been previously.

Can something be a luxury if it’s something you have regularly? Going by the definition it can, as the definition suggests it’s about cost, comfort and elegance. However in my mind I link luxury with rarity and I’m going to try and keep the gingerbread latte for next Christmas and hope that I get one with gingernuts again! Honestly I cannot fully express how luxurious and amazing it was!

What are your luxuries?

Challenge Track: day 1

I’m not so great at the keeping of new year resolutions. They seem to be the same each year and don’t seem to last very long.

This year, it’s not quite a resolution but I’ve signed up to a challenge. The challenge is to do 100 miles in 100 days, this can be done through walking, running, any way you choose or are able. The aim is to raise money for the epilepsy society, they chose this challenge because 1 in 100 people are diagnosed with epilepsy. 1 of those being me!

Because of the epilepsy I can’t drive anyway so I’m often walking. I made the choice to make sure that my miles would be above/beyond the ‘normal’ miles. Unfortunately 2023 has started with a bad back, so although I managed to walk to church this morning I couldn’t manage an extended walk back. So I’m going to record daily miles, but only excess miles on those days when I can (if that makes sense). Essentially I’m going to try to do as many miles as possible in the next 100 days as possible.

I will be writing a blog each week to share how many miles I’ve accomplished, where I’ve been, and how I’m finding it. If you would like to support me with this challenge please feel free to visit this page… https://epilepsysociety.enthuse.com/pf/helen-netherton?fbclid=IwAR1Zk8Cy1mzL6tV51a66Zfao5SEmxjL_JgkKLVR0Tqm8joZlJIulmj_FId4

Wednesday Wonders: Together Time

I was really struggling to decide what to wonder about this evening (partly when I suddenly remembered it was a Wednesday). There’s a very clear thing that I would like to write about but until I know the ins and outs I can’t really, but believe me I am still wondering!

SO… over the last week we’ve had Christmas. For me, Christmas is all about the celebration of the birth of Jesus, light entering the world. However, I also recognise how much I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to spend time with people, whether that’s eating meals with families, playing games, or going along to services and worshipping alongside others.

As well as enjoying the opportunity I’ve recognised the importance of being able to share that time with them. There are so many people who do not have such an opportunity and will have spent days alone.

I hope that you have been able to spend time with others, and be blessed by their company. I also hope that you will be aware of those who do not have such blessings, so we can be a blessing to them in some way.

I’ll be more prepared next week – I promise – hopefully!

Wednesday Wonders: Rest

When playing music the rest plays an important part. It punctuates the tune, in the middle of lots of notes being played there are periods of silence. Sometimes this may be short points, but sometimes much longer. More importantly the rest needs to be counted, it has purposefully been placed to have an impact on the tune. It’s easy to just hold on to the note, but it’s necessary to ‘play’ the rest.

Do we make the space to play the rests in our lives? I’ve just got back from a few days away, life had been getting slightly crazy for me and I had been struggling, as much as my life isn’t ‘normal’ at the moment, the life I have had been causing me stress. So I was grateful to take a rest, as always my time at home meant catching up with family and friends but it was a punctuation in my ‘usual’ life.

I played the rest.

This is where we’re going to have a bit of the pot calling the kettle black. We can’t always know when we are going to need to play the rest and there may well be times when we suddenly realise we are overwhelmed by the noise of life. BUT we may be aware of what our limitations are (that’s not the right word but hopefully you’ll know what I mean) and therefore we can plan our rests, we will also know what rests can be good. It may be a day of going somewhere or doing something different, it may be a week or more of going away from it all to somewhere completely different.

No piece of music is the same or has the same pattern of rests. However the rests will always punctuate a piece and play a very important part in the final composition.

Be mindful of the tune of your life. Play the rests where you need to. Play the rests that you need to.

Wednesday Wonders: playing with purpose

Regular readers will know how much playing the piano helps me, how much I enjoy it. Whilst going through a course of CBT recently I discovered that I especially found it beneficial when I wasn’t having to practice for anything in particular but was just sitting down to play. This also makes sense when I think back to starting my degree which was joint honours of Music and Religious Studies but I dropped Music at the end of my first year due to all of the enjoyment being taken away.

Following university I probably went quite a while without really playing, especially not with any purpose, but recently I’ve started leading musical worship at church. There were quite a few very nervous months with shaky hands and a shaky voice (that I noticed anyway). However, on Sunday, it was the first time I really felt like I was lost in the music, I was solely playing for the purpose of worship, not playing for anyone else.

Purpose can be helpful, it can also be constricting. It’s important that we allow the purpose of our actions to help us not to bind us. When I was at uni I allowed the practice required for music take away from the enjoyment I got from playing individually and corporally – but I think that says a lot more about me than anything else and I think that can easily be another blog post!

Wednesday Wonders: Time to rest

I’ve always loved leaves at autumn, especially when I see red leaves standing out amongst the others. It wasn’t until I was reading a book a few weeks ago that I fully understood that leaves were green when the trees were working to use chlorophyll, that they were always ‘autumn colours’ it’s just that we only saw those colours when the trees were resting.

When I read that, it honestly made me stop and think. It’s easy to tell people the importance of rest, but do we fully understand that our beauty can show more, we can stand out more, when we allow ourselves to rest. When we are busy things take over and hide our gifts.

Take some time to stop, to rest, to show your brightness whatever that might be.

Wednesday Wonders: Love

LOVE. A four letter word that means so much, makes us feel special, but can also leave us utterly bamboozled!!!

This morning I was gifted this beautiful plant in an awesome plant by a friend, for no apparent reason, just because. It made my grin from ear to ear and feel warm inside. Later on I asked her what her favourite word was (already with the plan to use it for my blog) and she said ‘love’ and straight away I felt dread! How was I going to write about love?

It isn’t something we can write about easily, it’s not something that we can explain, however it is something that we can demonstrate, something that can be seen in people’s actions.

Tomorrow it’s December, we’re already in the season of Advent as the Church. Christmas is all about love, in this time amidst the lights, presents, food etc… why don’t we take some time to show love – helping an elderly lady pay on the self-checkout at Boots; buying coffees for stall holders; giving a plant for no reason.

Love can be bamboozling but it can also be the easiest and greatest thing in the world.

Wednesday Wonders: worth it?

I have suddenly realised it is a Wednesday and I haven’t written my blog. I questioned whether there was any point, was it worth it? Then I thought about why I hadn’t written one today, and it’s essentially because I’ve been busy. All of the things I have done today I could have easily asked is it worth it, and the answer was always yes. It may not have been life changing but it was always worth it.

The tablet I am using tonight is not my usual one and I have struggled/failed to get a picture, that also nearly stopped me. However, we so often focus on the glamour that we miss out on the simple, yet important message.

When I first started writing my Wednesday wonder blogs it was to build some routine when my routine had been taken away. I haven’t missed a Wednesday since. Once again showing the importance in something seemingly small.

When you ask yourself is it worth it? I expect the answer will probably be yes!

I get knocked down and I get up again!!!!

I still remember the first time I went bowling. I’d gone out for a bike ride in the morning, on the way back my dad shouted for me to get off my bike before crossing a bridge. I didn’t listen to my dad, I fell off my bike into Hatchford Brook. I ended up with plasters all over me and I was unable to actually bowl when we went to the bowling centre. I had to sit and watch everyone else playing and having fun. I was not impressed – mainly with myself – but still.

That was not the last time I went bowling, I’ve been many times since and I actually went this afternoon with the husband. We played three games and he won two, but I’m sure that won’t stop me again.

To be able to play bowling when the pins are knocked over they NEED to be lifted back up again. It is literally impossible for the game to continue if the knocked down pins are not lifted back up. What an incredible metaphor for us, and an opportunity for me to reference a classic late 90’s hit!

So, we are always going to have times when we get knocked down, but the important thing is to get back up again. However, this isn’t always easy and will often look different. The pins will probably be put in different positions but that doesn’t stop the game from going ahead.

In todays game after one of my go’s the machine didn’t work and the husband had to wait for everything to be re-set but after some time, and some help from the staff the pins were up again and the husband could continue.

So… in the words of Chumbawumba

I get knocked down but I get up again there ain’t nothing gonna keep me down

Wednesday Wonders: Just a smile

Today I heard that in answer to the question ‘how can we bring about peace in the world’ an 8 year old said something along the lines of ‘don’t be shy about sharing smiles’ they said it a lot better but I can’t remember the exact wording!

This was one of a number of profound ideas but this was the one that really jumped out at me and that I have remembered.

I’m sure we’ve often thought that it’s ‘just a smile’ it’s not important but then how special do you feel when someone smiles at you? We don’t have to know who is smiling or who we’re smiling at. That simple act can make a huge difference in what might be a tough day.

Don’t be afraid to share your smiles