How do you see yourself?

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Lion or pussycat how do I see myself? Being a Leo this question has always been particularly pertinent to me. Mostly I’m the pussycat but I know there is also a secret lion prowling within should it be needed. My claws are politely sheathed to avoid accidental scratching but I have them as my kids will attest lol!

Listening to an old Mark Batterson audio (Chase the Lion – if you’e a Christian and haven’t read the book I highly recommend it!) the question reappeared.

His point: It all depends on how big you view God. If you view God as bigger than your problems, difficulties, sickness etc. then you become as the lion, strong, brave, etc. If you view Him as smaller, ineffective, irrelevant etc. then you become like a Christian pussycat, affectionate, attractive but with little real power, largely ineffective.

This question is also pertinent to the whole thing happening with Brexit here in the UK. Many folks I talk to are looking in the national mirror and discovering to their surprise that, contrary to what they’ve been fed for years, we are not really a pussycat at all, but a lion. It has come as a great surprise to many (although the very young seem much affected by the big media campaign aimed to get their vote, but even some of them are now waking up – “You mean we used to do all that before the EU?” lol!)

So lion or pussycat, which should we be? For myself I prefer to be the pussycat and walk softly around others, but it’s also important to know we have the lion within should need arise. I know I’m very small and weak but I have an awfully big God!

Celebrating volunteering!

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Yesterday I took a sunny appreciation canal trip down the nearby Grand Union Canal with other sailing volunteers.

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(One of our crazy volunteers – there are so many great folks involved!)

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Passing through some of the 18th century locks (the wood etc. has of course been renewed over the years).

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This canal was a means of transporting goods during the industrial revolution till later replaced as railways took over. It’s now more of a recreational heaven and home to many travelers and retired folks that wend the waterways enjoying the natural lifestyle.

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I often walk or cycle this route enjoying the scenery and exchanging a few words here and there with some of the many colorful characters that populate it (England is well known for its eccentric characters lol!)

As spring turns to summer

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(View from my bed)

I linger this morning taking in the sunshine and gentle breeze. Grandson departed for the weekend, it’s just me and the sunshine. Nostalgia gone this morning I’m basking in English spring (remembering there is no real spring in China where I lived just rain, more rain, then the heat of summer). In South China beauty reigns in autumn but in England in the spring.

I think it was Kipling that wrote from India, “Oh to be in England now that April’s here,” (and May and June…)

It’s a time to be here to see nature awaken and blossom, to feel the chill winds turn to cooling breezes. I am reminded that where ever I am to be content, to take in the beauty that surrounds me and to breathe it out to others, sharing these breaths of nature’s bounty. The hand of God is everywhere!

It’s Spring Let’s Dance!

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There’s just something about Morris dancers that brings out my English side (which tends to be quite diluted by my many travels). The bright colors, cheery smiles and simple country dances evoke echoes of a far simpler past.

Like the the Victorian book of hand illustrated poetry that presently adorns my bedside table they recall a rich heritage which so often lies buried beneath, hustle, bustle, cell phones and technology. It must be so for those of other lands also.

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The gay rhythms and crash of the sticks beat to a slower time a life attuned to season and nature. A time morality was more straight forward, the world less complex.

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The childlike naivety of the dance recalls memories of a time when I was young and love and courtship seemed more innocent and pure.

(Photos from my Easter in Weymouth)

Fancy a Bit of Wassailing This Christmas?

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(Taken from projectbritian.com/Xmas)

Wassailing has been associated with Christmas and New Year as far back as the 1400s. It was a way of passing on good wishes among family and friends.

One of the most popular Wassailing Carols went like this:

Here we come a-wassailing
Among the leaves so green,
Here we come a-wassailing,
So fair to be seen:
Love and joy come to you,
And to you your wassail too,
And God bless you and send you,
A happy New Year,
And God send you,
A happy new year.

What is Wassail?

Wassail is an ale-based drink seasoned with spices and honey. It was served from huge bowls, often made of silver or pewter. The Wassail bowl would be passed around with the greeting, ‘Wassail’.

There are three main ways of wassailing.

1. The filling of a common bowl or cup often referred to as a ‘Loving Cup’ and passing it around a room to be shared.
2. Taking a bowl of Wassail around houses
3. A celebration of the apple harvest and the blessing of the fruit or trees.

Where does the name Wassail come from?

Wassail gets its name from the Old English term “waes hael”, meaning “be well”. It was a Saxon custom that, at the start of each year, the lord of the manor would shout ‘waes hael’. The assembled crowd would reply ‘drinc hael’, meaning ‘drink and be healthy’.
As time went on, the tradition was carried on by people going from door to door, bearing good wishes and a wassail bowl of hot, spiced ale. In return people in the houses gave them drink, money and Christmas fare (special foods eaten during Christmas time e.g. mince pies) and they believed they would receive good luck for the year to come.