About Me

My photo
I am a special education teacher in England, working in a mainstream academy with a centre for children with learning difficulties. I teach a class of 7 students of secondary age with profound and multiple learning difficulties. These include autism, visual impairment and sensory integration disorder. I love love love my job. It inspires ,enthuses .and lifts me and I never intend to retire. :)

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Memories of Mother

My Mother died fairly recently, just after Easter this year.She died of pneumonia in hospital and we had enough time to rush to her bedside to say our goodbyes. It seems right to record some memories of her by way of a thank you for her effect on my life
My Mum and Dad were married for 50 years, plus, and a great example of true love worked out in action. Theirs wasn't always an easy relationship having its fair share of arguments, moods and long silences.They were very different people in almost every way but their utter respect for each other meant that whatever was going on between them they only spoke well of each other to others. My Mum suffered from depression for most of her life and as someone who both has depression and has lived with someone with depression I know that can ruin the best of relationships but my parents still loved and grew in love for fifty years. On their 40th wedding anniversary , Dad made a card for Mother and had written inside "Even when I retreat into the depths of my own heart .....I find you there." That still brings tears to my eyes and seems to me to express as complete a love as humans are capable of. My Mother was not a romantic woman and I never really heard her show her love for Dad, either verbally or physically and on receipt of the card she merely said "He's alright isn't he? . I swear though I saw a satisfied and happy smile lurking , although she was at pains not to let me .!

As  a Mother she was as loving, with as little verbal or physical demonstration of it.  However in no way could I ever doubt it. I was a very nervous child, cried all the time and was a complete pain in the bum.[of course now I know I was depressed from childhood] . Along with this went frequent wetting of beds and knickers . I was used to being told off, shouted at and threatened by other kids mums ,which of course made it worse, but NEVER my Mother. She would get up in the middle of the night, change the sheets, change me , tuck me back in all without a word or even a look of reproach..When I was ill with measles she sat up all night at the end of my bed , and long after I was an adult , if I became ill I still wanted my mother to comfort me. 
In my late teens I went through a horrid phase of blaming my mum for all my many problems! I regret this now but at the time my Mother was rather controlling and strict and consequently my life was very sheltered. Since then I have become close to people who's childhoods were so horrendous in terms of neglect and abuse that I can only be thankful for my loving upbringing. I was always safe, always knew I was loved and could always turn to my Mother in any hardship. I am so privileged to have had this.

Not only did I know that my parents loved me but I knew ,thanks to them, that God loved me. They didn't sit me down and teach me about God and his love but they made their own relationship with God so real, so in the here and now that Jesus simply lived with us. We talked to him and about Him in such a natural way that as soon as I knew anything at all I knew God loved me as I was. I didn't have to be "good" or perfect to earn it .This priceless gift I thank my parents for , as well as,of course my heavenly Father.

My Mother was crazy, in a good way! Totally hilariously mad! I think eccentric is probably the best way to describe her. She had no understanding of what and when to say things and would tell complete strangers what lovely skin they had. Now this may not seem so bad but at the time we lived in the south of England where to speak to a stranger was a mark of an escaped lunatic , never mind  to make personal comments about them. She  used her hands  for dramatic effect which was an added embarrassment to a young teenager. But we used to giggle at nonsense together  and her laughter and warmth lit up the atmosphere. Her eccentricity made mother a very endearing character and she was much loved whenever we lived.

Mother was a deeply spiritual character . Not just religious as in regular church going and prayer. She lived for God , longed to be closer to him and to do His will. Of the many examples of her love in action three stand out to me. She took in every tramp who called at her door , fed them, gave them a drink and whatever else was needed and filled their flask. It was in the days when there were tramps ie not homeless people but people who chose to walk without a home and their belongings on their back. Secondly she was unfailingly generous. She got a very small pension  in later life and most of it she gave to others .:whichever person or organisation she felt God wanted her to . Lastly I was very close to a gay couple and spent much time with them over most of my 20s. My mother genuinely believed that to actively be gay was a sin but she welcomed them into her house with as much love and warmth as anyone and they had no idea she disapproved.. Now the people who read my biog will think this nothing special and indeed as it should be? I agree but Mother came from a legalistic and often judgemental religious background so I believe she was a triumph of God's grace over the hatred and prejudice of humankind.

Sadly before the end of her life Mother suffered from dementia. She also had many little ailments that made her life unpleasant and a drag.She was so grateful to Dad for his constant care but she'd  had enough. She wanted to go home. By that she meant her eternal home with her heavenly father. Non of us believed she would die first .My Dad has had a heart attack and a stroke. It seemed natural he would go first and my Mother couldn't face thought of life without him. But God heard her cry and gave her her heart's desire. Her death was peaceful and gentle .She waited til the whole family were there and then instantly slipped away and now has no more pain or tears .

Dearest Mother, I'm sorry it took me so long to see what a treasure you were. Now I do and if I am half the servant of God that you were I'll be happy. Your life was a gift to God and your death was His gift to you.xxx

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Resolutions? Not for me!

 This was a timely reminder to myself that I discovered.It brought to mind my ofttimes enthusiasm for change,in my life and in myself which then relapses into apathy :( . Timely ,as I am now writing this post and if I can write it when not feeling great,and even believe  it , then I will so much more easily live it with Gods help and strength in the coming months .

New year .The time for reevaluating and for making resolutions.Lose weight, exercise more, work harder, stop moaning? I'm not going to though.Absolutely no resolutions this year .Resolutions tend to be things to do, maybe what you want to achieve, how you want to behave in a different way.Instead, I'm going to focus on who I want to be ..I read somewhere [out there on the Internet where I can't remember and therefore I'm sorry, but I can't credit where I got it from ] about asking God to give you a word for the year ahead  A word that focuses on being, not doing,, on relationships with God and people ;that will, through prayer, become a natural part of who you are and will reflect Christ to the world in a way that is specific to you I have my word from God ...;its HOSPITABLE

By hospitable I mean so much more than welcoming visitors to my home, inviting people for meals and offering food and drink. I am currently studying t he rule of life of the Northumbrian Community as a novice and hospitality is an important part of being available to God and others . My current module describes it as not only the open door "but the open heart offering acceptance and love,it is the open mind ready and willing to listen , to receive and to exchange insight" Powerful stuff! powerful as it's challenging and exciting . I am discovering, with God's help what this means for me personally.

Mt primary calling is to be hospitable to God. It sounds strange but we do need to be hospitable to Him .He doesn't force his way into our lives. I will endeavour to welcome my Lord into my daily life, hourly, in fact by practising His presence . I will see how much of each day I can grasp for God by remaining open to His loving presence.. I will also spend quality time with Him daily.I have found that this daily time with God is the main way I can manage my depression as He ministers to me. If I leave it for a few days I quickly spiral downwards.

The Celtic Church saw all strangers and friends as the visible incarnation of the invisible Christ. They therefore welcomed all people as they welcomed Christ with Joy. As I am an introvert, who restores my energies through silence and aloneness, I can see people as a distraction from prayer. I fit much more easily into the cell of the monastic life than the open door. This is a challenge for me but one God wants me to take and I think for me even accepting invitations is part of that challenge. By receiving I must welcome the relationships of my friends. This is hospitality of the heart.

We Christians can be so bad at acceptance of others . I cringe when I consider my youth and the rules and beliefs I thought were important for others to have before they were accepted as part of our narrow group.True hospitality would never seek to burden any person with our expectations and demands as a condition of our acceptance, neither would it criticise or judge those that are not like us . God is so practical when he speaks to us in prayer at times and he told me a few months ago to stop nagging my husband about smoking. I stopped, and Alan is so conscious of God love shown through that small change in attitude. In a much bigger way I am more concerned to be a welcoming person in my relationships than to be right or get involved in a competition about what is truth. I often post articles or posters on my face book page that are anti gay bashing, and I make no apology for this. I am determined to love and accept all people as Jesus loves and accepts all people

In my hospitality I want to welcome the people God brings to my life as they are, where they are and who they are, with no ulterior motive to convert them [only God can convert anyway] or change them .I want my house, my heart and mind to be a space where others can find God and a change can take place. I want to share peoples life and listen to their story ,

All this excites me , It makes me say Yes to God at the core of my being. But then I remember without God I am nothing. I live with depression , constant ill health and exhaustion. Many times social phobia . If I am to be hospitable I must be there in prayer, be there in service to others and even simply be there with others at all. I am willing Lord .Help me and Your strength will be made perfect in my weakness.

           In the homes of Jairus, Matthew Mary and Martha Jesus was always the guest.
           At the meal table of the wealthy where he plied the case of the poor;among the religious
           where he spoke of life ...he was always the guest
           Upsetting polite company, befriending isolated people, welcoming the stranger, he was 
            always the guest