Dear Reader

Written in response to Queen Creative’s prompt for the promptless Love notes and linking up with Weekly Writing Challenge from the Daily Post – Blogging events

By the way I decided not to run the blogging event I was considering to mark the first six months of posting to this blog (yesterday).  I was busy getting on with life!

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Dear Reader,

I just have to tell you how much I care about you.

I would love to know that you are experiencing the love, joy and peace, which is on offer.

My skills in conveying this to you are limited.  I hope you understand both my words and my motivation.  I must warn you that these gifts do not come without troubles.  But I can assure you that they are stronger and longer-lasting than any difficulties you might encounter.

When I was young I used to hold back due to fear of what our Creator might ask of me.  Now I have learned that doing what He asks leads to fulfilment and peace.

“Resistance is useless,” wrote Douglas Adams in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books.  We can resist and disobey, but He lovingly brings us back and leads us on.  This is what Jesus was speaking about when he said, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

We were made to love and serve God.

What is the chief end of man?
To glorify God and to enjoy him for ever.

(The Shorter Catechism)

A catechism is a series of questions and answers (about belief).

There is a much more wonderful love letter than I could ever write in the New Testament.  It was written by a man who had deliberately opposed God and the people who were spreading the Good News.  He had a complete change of outlook and character, which I wrote about in an earlier post.

His letter, which I’d like you to read from beginning to end, was written to the believers at Ephesus.  The love in his heart for those people and his awareness of God’s love for him radiate from this letter.

Dear Reader, click to read the letter St Paul wrote to the Ephesians.

Are you already enjoying the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit?  If not, try reading the Bible and talking to God.

Wishing you every blessing,

Sue

6

Clash of dates

You can’t be in two places at once!

How many decisions in life are governed by this fact for those of us who do not possess a time turner like Hermione Granger?  (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is where she uses hers to good effect.)

My response to this week’s prompt for the promptless (Approach-approach conflict) is perhaps rather trivial. Someone has said, “We become our habits.”  So perhaps how we make these day to day decisions about where to be at any given moment are not so trivial after all.  A good quotation here is attributed to Charles Reade (The Oxford Dictionary of Phrase, Saying and Quotation)

Sow an act, and you reap a habit.   Sow a habit and you reap a character.  Sow a character and you reap a destiny.

Recently on a Friday evening two of the groups I belong to were meeting simultaneously.

Digression:  I remember learning the word simultaneously at junior school.  Some of the class were rehearsing a short play – I have no idea what it was.  It was about a group of children and the word simultaneously was used and immediately explained by an older sibling.  Simultaneously – at the same time.  And it has stuck with me ever since!

I had to choose between the craft group, which I have mentioned in earlier posts, and a concert hosted by a committee on which I serve.  I had missed the craft group meetings at the end of the summer due to holidays and entertaining, but the craft group was started long after I joined the committee.  Thus I regarded the concert as a “prior engagement”, even though I’d have liked to meet up with my craft group friends.  I had even missed their annual “Christmas” meal out, which had been deferred until June!  (When they were deciding on a date, I told them I couldn’t manage it, but no-one asked why.  I heard later that over the meal someone asked where I was.  Everyone went quiet and someone said, “We don’t know.”  I was in a time zone eight hours behind them!)

So I went to the concert and handed out programmes to the brave souls who had ventured out on a wet and windy evening.  I listened to music played by an amateur brass band and sung by a local male voice choir.  (As an amateur musician myself, this was no real hardship.  I am full of admiration in particular for the choir, who sing entirely from memory.)  During the interval I poured the coffee.

Before the concert one of the men in the band had commented that I wasn’t at craft group.  (His wife is a leading light there!)  I explained about being on the committee.  Probably, I should have said something encouraging about the concert and how much I was looking forward to it!

3

It’s only a game!

This week’s prompt for the promptless is yet another new word to me – honne.  (It is a new word to my spell-checker as well, it changed it to hone, without asking!  So here is an attempt to hone my writing skills, writing about honne.  It did it again!)

Honne is a Japanese noun referring to the behaviour and opinions someone truly believes in– often displayed with one’s closest confidants.

The doors are unlocked.  People begin to arrive.  The officials are sitting behind tables ready to take the entrance money, give out score cards and sell raffle tickets.

The tables and chairs have been set out in rows: folding tables with green baize tops and the ubiquitous stacking chairs with moulded plastic seats.

The devotees divide themselves into pairs, ideally in the antediluvian style, male and female.  There are never enough men, so some ladies partner each other.  (Do you remember that wonderful comic song made famous by Joyce Grenfell – As Stately as a Galleon?)

Here the gentlemen have more responsibility than the ladies.  They have to shuffle and deal the cards, remembering to have the pack “cut” at the appropriate times.

Are all the people seated?  Are the tables full with no empty spaces?  Oh, they are a lady short there and a gentleman over here.  That extra table wasn’t needed after all!

If all the tables are filled with one to three people remaining, the last table is left for the spare people who sit out for one hand and then play the next.  They are sometimes called flirts, as they have to keep themselves amused for a few minutes, while everyone else is busy.

The whistle blows and they are off!

The gentleman who won the cut deals the entire pack, the players sort out their cards.  Hearts are trumps!  The lady to the left of the dealer plays first and the game continues, the gentlemen collecting the tricks won by their partnership.

The hand is over, the score cards completed and countersigned.  The winning partners stand up when the whistle blows and move in opposite directions to the next table in sequence.  The losing gentlemen move one seat round the table and are joined by a lady and gentleman from opposite directions.  Clubs are trumps and they are off again.

The next hands see diamonds followed by spades as trumps.

There is social banter after each hand while the slower tables finish their games.  Sometimes the chat is about the hand, which has just been played, although a detailed post-mortem is not always good form.  Or it may be the weather, holidays or health, domestic disasters or family news.

Twelve hands are played and it is the interval.  Tea or coffee and biscuits may be served on waterproof cloths placed over the tables and the raffle drawn.  Anyone who has scored 80 points or more in the first half has their scorecard checked by a committee member.  (12 hands with 13 tricks each is 156 points, so 80 and above means a chance of winning.)  All the trays and cloths having been cleared away the whistle is blown and the game resumes.

Twelve more hands are played in like manner.  The total scores for the second half and the grand total are entered.

The winners are identified and the prizes given out to applause.  More banter especially to the losers who received the consolation (or booby) prizes.

Chairs are stacked and personal belongings collected up.  The players leave and the committee tidy the hall, switch off the lights (and possibly the heating), lock up and go home to prepare for the next time.

In the days of television, computer games and 3-D cinema, whist drives remain popular.