Monday, 24 November 2008

Send forth your word Lord and let there be light.

Somewhere in the depths of an old photo album from many moons ago is a picture of me next to this lighthouse pictured. Taken at Old Hunstanton. This one was taken in August days before I moved up to Orkney. The one in the photo album shows me sitting in a pushchair and mum standing behind in a head scarf and rain coat. (ah those were the days when fashion graciously stepped aside to make room for warmth and comfort)
I wonder if that is when my love of lighthouses began? I have always enjoyed looking at pictures of lighthouses and watched with envy, programmes where people have converted lighthouses to live in.

This weekend I attended a lighthouses of prayer day. A group of almost 40 of us weathered the storms to make it to a coastal tearoom with spectacular views with a lighthouse to complete the landscape, and looked at ways we could impact our local communities by praying, caring and sharing. It was an interesting and encouraging day and I was genuinely uplifted to see how many people wanted to build up their communities by looking out for one another and looking for ways we could love,serve and help those people around us. There is a good community spirit in Orkney but we can always do more. Orkney is a very safe and friendly environment to raise children but people have the same stresses and strains wherever you go and we all need each other at the more difficult times. Just as a lighthouse warned the passing boats of the dangers of rocks, we as human lighthouses can be there to brighten up someones day or steer a misguided soul to safety. As conversations took place over the weekend we realised very much that sometimes we are the lighthouses. Strong and able to help light the way and sometimes we are the person in the boat feeling tossed around on a stormy sea. (I've paraphrased the conversations here but the idea's the same) I know I have been so grateful for the abundance of human lighthouses who have helped and selflessly served me over the years and hope to conintue the good work in other people lives.

We each took home a miniature lighthouse to remind us. I am lucky enough that in the distance from my lounge window I can see a lighthouse. I can't however see a little girl in a pushchair. Apparently she's all grown up now.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

There's nothing better than.....

A solitary walk on the beach in November. Which is exactly what I enjoyed this afternoon. I've always loved being by the sea and this afternoon I drove to one of my favourite beaches here in Orkney and had a lovely time. The dog ran around like a loony as is his want and I walked along the isolated beach taking in the lovely air and sound of the waves. I'm always fascinated by the abundance of shells too. I see one and think it looks nice and pick it up then walk along and see another one and another and another. Then I can't decide which ones to pick up and which ones to leave and there are just so many of them! Why do I take such delight in picking up shells? I have no idea but it's probably to do with simple childhood pleasures of being by the seaside on holiday where I could spend hours playing on the beach. I finally decided on three extra special shells to bring back with me and left the remaining millions where they were. The one pictured was collected by Elliot a few weeks ago. He's clearly a chip off the old block.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Oh dear, I'm going to be so late!

Church starts a little later in Orkney. 11.15am which is considerably later than what I grew used to back in Cambs where we started at 10.30am for service and if I was singing then I was (supposed) to be there for 9.30am. I'm told the later starts up here was traditionally to enable farmers to get their milking done before church and presumably before modern milking equipment. 11.15 seemed to me so humanly late for a Sunday morning that I never imagined I would be like the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland (pictured) But sure enough we make the time fit the job (or is it the job fit the time?) and still now I find myself rushing at the last minute to get the kids ready, screaming at them 'wash face, clean teeth, get your shoes on we're going to be late' followed by us tearing down the road (within the speed limit of course!), parking, flying up the steps and into church and trying to look composed knowing that once again we have broken the speed of sound as we politely wish others a good morning. The same goes for Elliot's school which starts at 9.30am. 'No problem' I said. I was used to getting him to school as early as 8 previously so I could go on to work and that included a ten minute drive. Surely now school started so late here and was on the doorstep, I would have time to bake, wash the kitchen floor or do the ironing before even needing to wake dear son. Not so. The words are pretty much the same 'wash face, clean teeth etc.... Then I send him on his way offering up a silent prayer of thanks for the speedy scooter which gets him there just before the bell. The only day left for it not to be an issue is Saturdays when I'm guaranteed never late for my lie in. My dad is a stickler for time and has never been or ever will be late for anything ever. I guess I take after my mum!