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Yes moments

Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog.  Todays topic is Yes moments.

We all like to know we are on the right track.

For the last sixteen months I have been blogging.  It began as a couple of ideas.  The first idea was to do a writing project about English sayings.  The second idea was to write about my faith on the internet.  The English project was something my daughter encouraged me to start.  As she is grown-up and away from home a blog seemed a good place to write.  She could choose whether to  visit it.  E-mails would have pestered her.

I approached a website to see if they were interested in my poetry, but heard nothing from the editor.

So I began to write the English blog, Sue’s considered trifles.   I realised many common expressions were to be found in the Bible.  I soon found a formula for my posts ending with a reference to the Bible.

Six months later I wanted to join in more with other bloggers and some of my posts did not really fit my blog.

After some digression where I responded to Daily Prompts, I realised I needed a second blog to diversify as a blogger and enjoy challenges, while continuing with my main project.  So I checked whether suestrifles.wordpress.com was available.  It was, so I snapped it up.  That was in March 2013.  I wrote a few posts, but not every Daily Prompt appeals to me, so I searched WordPress for other challenges.  I soon found out about Blogging from A to Z in April.  I was just in time to register for it!

I had a real sense that this was an opportunity to join with other bloggers and enjoy writing 26 posts in a month.  I decided to use each letter many times in each post.  I had already written two posts in this way, while I was deviating on my other blog.  (Do you roll your R’s? and Putting pen to paper.)

This was going to be fun!  I was really encouraged when the founder of the challenge, Arlee Bird, visited my blog during the first week and left a comment and a link to one of his blogs.  There were over 1500 participants in the challenge.

This gave me new impetus to continue with the challenge.  By the end of it I had begun to write posts ahead of time and schedule them.  I wrote a reflections post at the end of the challenge and grabbed the badge for the Road Trip, visiting the other blogs.  I have visited quite a few.

I was still writing for my main blog and publishing posts as soon as they were finished.  Since then I have worked to a posting schedule, which was a maximum of three times a week.  I found that twice a week was plenty and left me with enough spare time to write posts and schedule them in advance of any busy times.

Other special blogging events have come to my notice just in time.  Blog Action Day was one.  It was at this stage I decided to join Twitter.  Almost immediately I became aware of the UK Blog Awards.  I was interested, but did not like the idea of an entry fee.  It was through Twitter that I learned that entry was free.

Blog Every Day in November was another challenge I learned about just at the right time to register.  It felt like the last minute, but once I scrolled down to the bottom of the page (possibly on my third visit to it!) I found out what to do.

Another “Yes” moment came in real life recently.

I have mentioned the Bible study group I belong to in other posts.  At half term I went to a meeting of the group which had divided from our group and meets in a nearby town.  I am not doing the study of Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life with them, but had read the book previously (four years before).  In the video which we watched, the first few points the speaker made were what I had written about in a post the previous day!  I felt that was confirmation that I had written the right thing and that I had made a good choice by attending the meeting and not just turning up for lunch.  I had also met some friends on the station on the way there and some more on the way back.

So, these moments encourage us.  Some of us regard them as confirmation that we have made a right choice.  We should be aware of them and give thanks.

I am also linking with Faithful Blogging prompt #101 as I did lose my way with my original blog and my way out of the problem was to start a second one.

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Home sweet home

Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog.  The topic for today is Home sweet home.

This is an interesting topic.  I am not going to treat it as a virtual tour either in writing or pictures.  Instead I shall write the thoughts I had about what home means to me.

I lived in the same house for the first eighteen years of my life and then in the holidays while I was a student.  For a long time afterwards, that was the only house to feature in my dreams.  I knew other houses well.  I had spent one week every year for twenty years in my grandparents’ house.  I did occasionally dream about that, but it was always in the context of a passageway which did not exist!  Perhaps I was confusing fiction with a real place.

After that as a young married person, I moved a few times in a few years.  None of those addresses became the fabric of my dreams.  A place we lived for almost ten years did.  In fact I only began to dream about it after we had moved away.

When we had just moved here I went to the local Women’s Institute and one of the members said something wise about what home meant.  I cannot remember her exact words.  Something along the lines of bringing your home with you, perhaps.  It often is the responsibility of a wife and mother to set the atmosphere in the home.

While it is a great thing to have a comfortable home, our ultimate home is not in this world.  Philippians 3:20

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Until Christmas

Blog Every Day in November is a challenge hosted by Elizabeth of Rosalilium a lifestyle blog.  Today’s topic is

Til Xmas

My favourite traditions for Christmas surround the music, worship, excitement, exchange of news from friends and the traditional Christmas food.

I remember a Christmas carol service from my childhood.  I think it was at the church in the next parish and it was crowded.  I was short and still am, by most standards.  All I could see when I stood up to sing were the winter coats of the people in the row in front of me.  But it was still exciting.

Now singing in the choir, I have the chance to see the faces of some of the congregation, unless it is a candlelight service.  Preparations for Christmas music may begin as soon as September.  There are other events to fit in meanwhile, with their own music.  Remembrance, Advent and all the Sundays in between need music too.

Singing to people is enjoyable.  In church we are very aware that we are singing to and for God.

As a teenager, I used to hold back when I was singing in church.  I was afraid of what God might require of me.  Now I have learned that what He requires is far better than what we could choose for ourselves.  I still do not always obey, but I aim to live in a relationship with God through Jesus and guided by the Holy Spirit.

I enjoy writing a Christmas letter, which I send to friends and relations in December.  I seem to send more letters than I receive, but I enjoy writing and I know that others may not.  It is interesting to read all the news.  Sometimes there is sad news and a personal letter or phone-call is needed.

All the events leading up to Christmas including a Carol concert (followed by a mumming play) and carol singing in various places round and about involve food.  One tradition in Britain is the mince pie.  We have two food-related meanings for the word mince.  It may mean minced meat, particularly beef.  At Christmas it is a sweet mixture containing dried fruit, sometimes nuts, suet and spices.  It is spooned into pastry tarts, a pastry lid is added and pricked and there is a mince pie waiting to be baked.  Other Christmas treats include Christmas cake and Yule logs.

We also decorate real or artificial Christmas trees.  I enjoy doing this.  Our tree is artificial, but green.  Some are silver or whatever the latest fashionable colour is for Christmas.  I have chosen red, gold and silver-coloured baubles and we have other decorations, which we have collected over the years.  There are fairy-lights as well.  We also have a traditional disagreement about whether the lights go on first or last!

On Christmas Eve we go to church for the midnight communion service, which begins before midnight.  There is a special atmosphere as village residents and their Christmas visitors gather to celebrate the birth of the saviour of the world.  It is usually a candlelight service.  The final hymn is, “O come, all ye faithful” and it is the one time we sing the final verse, “Yea Lord, we greet thee born this happy morning”.

We go home to bed and on Christmas morning we prepare the traditional Christmas dinner.  In our house we serve this at lunch-time.  We open the presents which have been piled under the Christmas tree and we speak on the phone to family members who are not present.

It is a time for families, but it is not a good time of year for travelling long distances, so we may not see any or all of our family members who live away at this time of year.