Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Flying High!

This is the aircraft in which I have just been up and about in for a free flying lesson. It was given to me as a gift by a very kind friend in the church that I attend. What fun! The temperature was around the 25 degree C mark and we were flying into a thunderstorm, but it was amazing. The instructor, Frank, let me fly the plane around in the air, up and down and banking turns etc and then, he allowed me to land it. I am amazed that he risked the mirth of his colleagues who may have been watching our approach as it left a lot to be desired. Still, we got down.

Of course I'm not fooling myself. I know that if Frank hadn't been there, or if something had happened to him, I could not have successfully landed that aircraft. He was the guiding hand, the encouraging voice, and the one who could have baled me out of trouble at any point. I'm so glad that in life Jesus is my instructor too. He does not seem to do a lot sometimes, but I'm not fooling myself, I couldn't make it without Him. His guiding hand and encouraging voice are so important to me, but the knowledge that His skill is always at my side is vital.

What an experience.

Monday, July 17, 2006

It Ain't Half hot!

Well, summer's here at last and we Sarnians (the old name for Guernsey folk) are sweltering in 30+ degrees of heat. Mind you, we've lived in Africa, and I quite enjoy the heat when it finally comes. Here in Britain it's a case of 'don't blink or you'll miss it!'

We haven't been swimming in the sea yet. We're waiting for the water temperature to rise to at least 18 degrees C - shouldn't be too long now. When it does we'll be in there, splashing around like toddlers pretending we can really swim well.

There's nothing quite a like a cool swim at the end of really hot day, when the tide is up at the top of the beach, the air is still and the whiff of barbied bacon and sausages fills the air. That's about as close to Paradise as it gets this side of the line! Wish you were here?

See ya soon.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

What Really Matters?

I'm getting over last week's attack of acute cholangitis (blocked bile ducts) but am still feeling a bit grog. All this resting is giving me a resting overdose! I am at work, but need to make plenty of space between assignments so as to be able to cope.

This has got me thinking as to what really matters in my life. I am having to prioritise and evaluate everything I do into what is really important, what can wait, and what doesn't really need my attention at all. That's not a bad discipline even for those who are well. Even Jesus refused to dash around Israel doing good everywhere and paced himself to do only those things that he felt God the Father was telling him to do.

I was chatting about this to my friend Stuart when he reminded me that we are called 'human beings' not 'human doings' and that we all need to know that we matter, not because of what we do, but because of who we are. Now I'm trying not to resent the process of sifting everything in the hope that it will stand me in good stead even when I am doing better.

It's an ill wind!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A Tough Week

It's the weekend again after a really tough few days. I've been ill with an attack of acute cholangitis - temperature of 39.7 (104!) with rigors, nausea, pain etc. Not a happy chappie! I can never go through these attacks without thinking of those who live like this all the time. I am really blest to be able to enjoy a fairly normal life in between spells of sickness, but I know some folk who are in pain 24-hours a day, seven days a week. I admire those who suffer like that and keep cheerful, even trusting God through it all.

Diane and I remember last 7th July very well as I was in hospital in London just a few days later. Exactly one week after the bomb attacks, we were in the streets around Oxford St at the time of the bombing, when everybody came out of their offices and shops to mark the minute with silence. It's awesome to think of the pain that the grieving relatives are facing every day, as well as the hundreds who were disfgured and injured.

What a sad old world this sometimes seems to be? Does God care? Can He do anything about it? I love Salvador Dali's painting Christ of St John of the Cross. It says it all really. He does care and He is involved. He's involved in my pain too, and I'm grateful for that.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

More Restoration Pics

When I started thinking about what Len had done to that old heap of remains, I found some more pictures I thought you might like to see:

This is definitely a 'before' shot!

These are definitely 'after'! Well done Len.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Restoration Blues

What a mess! Would you know where to start to restore this lot? My friend Len did. He saw this heap of rusty old parts for a Morris Minor pick-up truck several years ago, and took a real shine to the old pile. Amazingly, he had hope for it even thought there was nothing to really hope about, just a heap of broken pieces. Four years of hard work, sweat, labour and love, have worked their charm on the rusted remains, and what exists today is a work of real effort.

Wow! A real restoration masterpiece. Every part of it is original, except for the seat covers and the wing mirrors, and the great thing is - it works! Now, whenever I'm feeling my age, struggling with illness, aware of being a bit of a wreck, I think of Len's Minor. He worked at it because he had a love for it, and a vision for the outcome. He knew that what was there was not all that could be there.

You know what? Len is a bit like Jesus. (He would laugh if he reads that - so would Eileen his wife). But he is, because Jesus is in the business of rescuing wrecks like me. He's got love and vision enough to give me a brand new start. Hey - my 'blues' are turning to 'whews'!

Monday, July 03, 2006

Go Island Hopping!

We have just had an amazing couple of weeks island-hopping here in the Channel Islands. Sark is a unique piece of Western Europe, broken off from the coast of Normandy. 600 people live there and there are no cars at all - just a few tractors and the gentle clip-clop of horses' hooves! We enjoyed the cliff paths and watching dolphins swimming in the bays. Then it was on to Jersey, quite a contrast in traffic terms but just as quaint and interesting.

Islands have something very special about them. Some people can't cope with the sense of isolation, but we love them! We used to live and work in the Seychelles, a chain of 100 tropical islands in the middle of the Indian Ocean, at least one thousand miles from land. In fact, we'd love to go back there. They say that once you have eaten breadfruit in the Seychelles you are bound to return.

Now that would be an island-hopping idyll. Bring it on!