Snow in April

It might be April but we can still have snow. I planned to do some gardening the other day but it proved too cold and then we had a snow storm. As I was contacting other people on Zoom round the country we were comparing depths of snow. I definitely lost the competition. But it was good to see cars driving by, some with only a small piece of their windscreens cleared of the snow.

Thinking back to last year we had a lovely spring. But in 2020 we needed it as we had a rocky road ahead of us. Now that we are coming out of lockdown, maybe we don’t need the warm weather. Maybe, but maybe not.

Short Flowering Lawn

With the help of my gardener I’m starting on a Short Flowering Lawn. (Not sure whether the flowers will flower for a short time, whether the flowers will be short in height or whether the comment refers to the length of my lawn!)In two weeks time he will scarify the lawn(is it scared because it belongs to me!) and I will have bought some seeds by then.

I hope it won’t involve too much work but I want to encourage and butterflies, ladybirds and insects. I live in a horticultural oasis, with roads on two sides, an immaculate no weeds garden on one side and a pesticide enthusiast on the other. Roll on my insect friendly garden.

All in an April Evening

Lambs are so symbolic with Easter. Most of my life I’ve lived in a part of England where we did not see lambs. Therefore I’m so excited, now that I’ve moved as I can see them every time I go out. That is good as I can’t travel far at the moment. I’m told there are many different breeds but to me a sheep is a sheep is a sheep!

We think of our Lord going willingly as a lamb to the slaughter for us. It is such an enormous concept that it’s difficult to take it in. But it is true; let us rejoice and be thankful this Easter.

Old Emails

I spent time looking at the emails I received twelve months ago, prior to deleting them. What interesting reading they made. We were so innocent about what the future held. We had no idea of the restrictions that would be made. The new words which we are now so familiar with were unknown to us then.

We didn’t know what lockdown, shielding, zooming, and social distance meant. I thought they meant what happened when one went to prison, wrapping up against the wind, rushing around everywhere and keeping away from people who had colds. We are now older and wiser!

Sitting in Gardens

In the first five days when we in England were allowed to have friends and neighbours sitting in our gardens, I had six friends visiting on three different occasions. It was so wonderful, especially as the sun was shining every time, except one. On that occasion the wind was blowing a gale, so we sat with coats, hats and gloves. But it was still so exciting.

With one friend we sat looking at the butterflies flying around and the ladybirds crawling along a blade of grass. So relaxing. On another occasion we discussed my visitors families in Germany and the fact that they couldn’t visit. Lovely to sit at a distance and not wear masks. I am so grateful to have a garden and now to be able to share it with others.

CHURCH

It is exciting in England to be able to go to church again in person. Admittedly we can’t sing and need to continue wearing masks, but it is wonderful to be able to worship with other Christians as we are instructed to do in the Bible. But I have to admit being saddened. We are allowed to have thirty people in our service. Even with the leaders we were only about 16.

When lockdown is over, will we be returning to church or will we stay at home and watch Zoom or live video? Yes, Zoom saves time, having to get dressed, saves petrol and we can cook the dinner at the same time. But we are missing out. Virtual services will not keep the church going. We need to meet and be thankful we do not have the restrictions the early church or some countries round the world have today.

It reminds me of what learned as a teenager. What is missing from the middle of church. CH UR CH what is missing – U R.

Forty Years!

In Great Britain we have had pandemic restrictions of one sort or another for over a year. Although the end is in sight we are not there yet. Many other countries are still experiencing further limitations. A year plus seems a very long time. How will we cope when things return to ‘normal?’ Will we take up where we left off? What will be lost for ever? Are there things which will look to be an improvement? But remember it’s only a few months we’re talking about.

The children of Israel had forty of those times. Forty years wandering in the wilderness. Forty years since they’d fled from Egypt and left everything behind, both good and bad. Unlike us, those who left Egypt never entered the promised land. The Israelites did not always behave well. Have there been times during this last year when we haven’t behaved well? We have been depressed, selfish, downcast and despairing.

Let us concentrate on the future. What have we learned? What will we do better in the future? Brighter days are ahead. May we contribute to a better world.

Sunrise Service

I had a most blessed time by taking part in a sunrise service on Easter Sunday. In normal times about 100 people meet at the local cemetery to worship early on Easter Sunday morning. There is a stunning view over our city and a wonderful feeling of Christian fellowship.

This was not allowed this year. Instead just five of us met in our local park. As we worshipped I tried to use all my senses to fully appreciate the atmosphere. There were only five of us, we sang out loud, prayed and communed together. It wasn’t strictly ‘sunrise’ as there was no sun evident. At 6.15 am it was cold ,also very cold. As the only glove-wearer I was a little warmer.

The birds were swirling around above a nearby clump of trees. The river was flowing swiftly by. A slight mist hung over everything. Our service was a wonderful witness, but there was no-one around to witness it.

It was a sunrise service such as I’ve never experienced before. As I worshipped and praised I realised I would remember this morning until the end of my days. And then I got to thinking how many more Easters would I celebrate. At my age not a tremendous number. That’s OK. I will one day be celebrating Easter in heaven, in fact I will be celebrating it BECAUSE of Easter. He is risen indeed.

Dawn Chorus

Our sleep patterns can be disturbed in these troubling times. I have been annoyed that regularly I wake up at 5.00 am. It seems such a waste of sleep time. I need six or seven hours sleep every night. As I suffer from ME lack of sleep can be quite serious.

Then one morning I lay there at this early hour, frustrated because sleep wouldn’t come. Then I listened. The dawn chorus was in full swing. So many birds were singing their hearts out. I lay there, fully awake and just listened. Then the singing quietened and I must have dozed off. But within twenty minutes I was awake again listening. The birds were back with their singing.

Now I look forward to five in the morning. The peace that I get from this chorus is worth any amount of sleep. I eventually get up refreshed and praising God. Not a bad way to start the day.

April Fool’s Day

As a youngster I hated the 1st April. I always seemed to be the butt of the jokes. In a way it made me popular, but I was very uncomfortable with it. The origins of this day where practical jokes and pranks are played on the unsuspecting are not clear. One thought is that it started when the Georgian calendar was introduced and as some people were not aware of it they were recording the wrong date.

As I do every year, I shall try to avoid other people until 12 o clock. Not a difficult thing to do this year! (Can this whole virus be a practical joke?)