Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Hot ice cream

Kingfisher, Alcedo atthis
The little girls on the 25th:

Me.   "Do you like turkey Eleanor?"
Eleanor:   "No."
Me;  "Do you like: roast potatoes/sausages/trifle/chocolate log/fruit salad/strawberry ice-cream?"
Eleanor:  "No times 6"  with a slight pause when she asked what a chocolate log was.

She made a hearty lunch off the despised items.

Me:   "Do you like Uncle Colin's homemade ice-cream Beth?
Beth:  "No. I don't.  Its cold, and it tastes of strawberry."

Not sure if that counts as a success or a failure.

My bro in law had a small stroke on Boxing Day - but is now out of hospital and perking up. Thank goodness.  And Captain B nobly took me to the park today - me clinging on desperately as we skidded over ice. He wanted to show me a Kingfisher in the snow, and Dippers in the snow.

First pond he got me to - there was a Kingfisher as bold as brass. I could almost have reached and touched it.   It posed for a while and Col kept his camera going. Then we staggered across the road into the next park and saw three Dippers - and one had a ring on that Col has not seen before.

Pen is coming over on Thursday, weather permitting. But all other outings are off.   The snow is still lying everywhere and its frozen hard.

We enjoyed the new Mapp and Lucia last night.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

A Large Furry Bird

Extraordinary amount of snow fell in a few hours Friday evening - the front path was blocked with snow-flattened trees.

I saw little wren type birds scuttling along the strip of snow-free ground outside the dining room window as we had breakfast, so I threw some of the grated cheese left from our supper (a fry up of all the leftover veggies) for them.   Keith joined us for lunch on Friday, and we had turkey soup yesterday, so all the cold stuff is pretty much finished now.

Then Ollie was clamouring to go out the backdoor.  I let him out for toilet purposes, and the next thing was that I saw a large furry bird round the side of the house snuffling up every morsel of cheese.

Someone had left the side gate open!    Or perhaps the snow has brought it down?  I have no boots with me and can't go to look as yet.
Sunshine this morning - lovely light on the snow.   The valiant Captain Butterfly and his sister in law have hitched Ollie to a metaphorical sledge and taken him off for his morning walk in Endcliffe Vale Park.

Friday, 26 December 2014

A Generation is Coming

Dipper, Cinclus cinclus
I feel a bit translucent today, as if I hardly exist.  Is it the feeling of time, and fading away?  We spent yesterday with the grandchildren and their families.  The eldest grandaughter is thinking about applying to Newcastle University when the time comes.

That is where Captain Butterfly and I met and did our courting, all those years ago. And yet its only a few decades ago.

Anyway - we managed to get the turkey dinner and all the trimmings to the table on time and still hot. Excellent. And it was followed by a wonderful dessert trolley.  Nute had made a fresh fruit salad and Helen provided ginger cake with ginger cream filling, trifle, and a chocolate log. She is a brilliant baker.

I was on Eleanor duty for a lot of the morning. We hunted all over the house for Scooter, who, wisely, did not let herself be found till people were leaving. Eleanor kept wanting me to carry her, which made me realise just how old and arthritic I have got.   The little girls all got on well and seemed to enjoy themselves, although the baby had a meltdown which mean the poor parents had to eat their lunch as a relay team.

The Captain and I are going off dipper-hunting. I hope to add a photo or two to the blog later.

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

The Berlin Wall - the Rules

The wall between beast and beast at the bungalow has changed, and so have the rules.   My sister and her husband have - or had - three rescue animals - 1 dog (Ollie) and 2 cats (Daisy and Scooter).  None of them gets on with each other, and so the house is divided by a Berlin wall between living rooms and bedrooms.  Cats one side, dog on the other.  The door must be closed during the day, but open at night, when Ollie and his basket are locked away in the lounge.

And, as Scooter and Daisy don't get along either, they have another dividing door, and so we share our bed and bath with Scooter when we are staying.  Our door must remain shut and she clatters in and out into her own bit of the garden through her catflap at various times during the night - usually just as we are dropping off to sleep.

However - the rules have changed!

Since our last visit, Daisy, sadly, has died (old age).  And Ollie the dog became very ill and was allowed to spend the night in the bedroom, in his basket, with my sister and her husband.

He has since refused to sleep anywhere else. AND he sleeps on the bed now.

As he and Scooter still don't get along, this requires a whole new set of rules about which doors must be open/closed and when...

We got up there on Monday - a very easy drive traffic-wise, with a couple of stops for sandwiches and our flask tea - and Col rushed us off to Lathkil to see the dippers yesterday morning - no dippers, but they have been seen - and we shopped in the afternoon - with a nice pub lunch in the middle - steak and kidney pudding for the Captain and a veggie chile for Mrs.Captain.

Monday, 22 December 2014

The Tender Beauty of the Sunset

Saturday's sunset...   Jean and I were talking about it in the car on Sunday.  She said she was caught by the beauty of it as she came out of Waitrose.  We both said a heartfelt thanks to Jehovah.

What an extra lovely talk we had at the Hall yesterday.  It was given by a young brother. It was all about paying attention to Jehovah, to his inspired word, and surviving Armageddon - and coming through to the Paradise earth.

He started with an illustration, about a wonderful Japanese mayor who, having seen what a tsunami could do was determined to protect the people of his little fishing village. And in the face of great difficulty, protest, and scorn, he had a 51 foot seawall erected.   This was back in 1967.  The mayor died in 1997.  The tsunami did not come till 2011, but when it did, that wall saved the village.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1386978/The-Japanese-mayor-laughed-building-huge-sea-wall--village-left-untouched-tsunami.html

Obviously we made the comparison with Noah, his obedience in building the Ark, and the warning preaching work he did.

It all underlined the importance of listening to Jehovah, and acting on what we hear.

Jean came with me afterwards to do four return visits I needed to get done.  Two were still not at home, will have to try again next year!   But two were in.  One was up a ladder, putting up his decorations(?) or something.    

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Walking the Roman Road

We rode out from Sue's this morning, Jean and I. She came with me while I did my last three route calls, then we got to our territory to do a list of Not at Homes. We did find a couple of people in, and they both talked to us.

A beautiful sunny day - with the sun right in our eyes. It was hard to make out the names of the houses and we walked up and down several of the wrong drives.

I drove her home and we decided we would go out tomorrow after the meeting if the weather is OK.

Jackie was round last night for supper - turkey, ham and sage pie from Abel & Cole, with croquette potatoes, pumpkin and cauliflower cheese.  Mousse and chocolates to follow. We missed her, and its great to have her back.

I am still reading the Tomalin Hardy biography.  It wakes me up to what poverty was in the 19th Century.   And also the harsh ethos of the time.

Here is a lovely poem Thomas Hardy wrote about his mother:

The Roman Road
by Thomas Hardy

The Roman Road runs straight and bare 
As the pale parting-line in hair 
Across the heath. And thoughtful men 
Contrast its days of Now and Then, 
And delve, and measure, and compare; 

Visioning on the vacant air 
Helmeted legionnaires, who proudly rear 
The Eagle, as they pace again 
The Roman Road. 

But no tall brass-helmeted legionnaire 
Haunts it for me. Uprises there 
A mother's form upon my ken, 
Guiding my infant steps, as when 
We walked that ancient thoroughfare, 
The Roman Road. 


Thursday, 18 December 2014

Thomas Hardy again

On Tuesday, after I had dropped off Cathy at the old co-op car park, I had to take Dave's December magazines and the butterfly paperwork to the Post Office.   The queues!   This time of year has become a real hassle.  But at least its done till next year.

But we had a good morning - doing some of our magazine route calls together.  Had a nice chat with a couple of people.  Was out again yesterday, with Joel and Mick.  And hope to be out again this morning, if I can get myself together.

Just emailed my very sick internet friend in the U.S.  He is having such a terrible time, and I am trying to get him to draw close to Jehovah, the God of all comfort.   He is not someone we can reach on the door to door work, as he lives in a gated community.   But Jehovah will always find a way if the heart is right.

After I had done the posting, I popped into the Oxfam shop and found the Tomalin biography of Thomas Hardy.  It cost me £1.50, and that is value for money.  I am enjoying it, though it is sad of course.  But doesn't everyone's life look sad in retrospect, cut off as we are from our Creator?

There is a lovely picture of his first wife Emma.   And, while I have always loved Hardy's poetry, the life does confirm my opinions about the dangers of marrying a poet.  He had two wives, neither of whom were happy.   Of course, its impossible to say exactly why. Both may well have been difficult women, and none of them were getting the guidance they needed from the Maker of marriage.

And Thomas Hardy loved the beauty and the glory of the creation, even though he was a Darwinist.

But I am happy to say that Captain Butterfly has never written a poem to me, or about me. And I am confident he never will. Which is a real comfort.

Monday, 15 December 2014

Midsomer Redux

We watched an old Midsomer Murders tonight - and were surprised when Detective Chief Inspector Barnaby was amazed when someone hammered on his door at midnight to tell him that there had been another murder.

He must have been dreaming, and forgot where he was.  In Midsomer you are amazed when someone hammers on your door at midnight to tell you there HASN'T been another murder.

A housebound day for me today.  The Captain flew off in the afternoon leaving me toiling at the Butterfly Coalface. Anyway, the memberships are done and dusted and the packages are ready for the Post Office.  They came in an annoying new format this month - much more difficult to process. And my shoulder is hurting, so I got a bit grumpy about it all.

And I got my studying done. Which made me feel better.  We are in Jericho at the moment - the walls have come down  - and Rahab and her family have been saved.  They listened, obeyed, and were blessed.

And Jackie is back!   Hurray.  She will come for supper - and champagne? - on Friday night, and we can hear all about her Viennese adventures.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

On Thin Ice

Water Rail, Rallus aquaticus
The ponds at Arundel had a lot of ice on them today. The Captain spent the day there with his box of sandwiches, and carrot cake I made yesterday, and I went to the meeting at the Kingdom Hall.

We are still learning about the Biblical covenants that Jehovah gave as the legal basis for the Kingdom.   Very faith-strengthening.

I was out on the doors with Jean yesterday - we finished our territory and then did some calls, as Jean was getting too cold.   I met her and Ken later when I went for a walk in the seafront and we walked to the Pier together.  Well, when I say "walked", we all did the best we could under our elderly circumstances.

They went off into town and I stayed on the Pier watched the sea come up the river.   And got talking to a guy called Chris, who seems very lonely.   I did try to witness him, wishing I could draw him close to Jehovah, the God of all comfort. But he wanted to talk, not listen.   So I  just let him talk, and listened.   But maybe I will see him again.   And try again.

Friday, 12 December 2014

On the Platform with my Sister

Is this another landmark?  I don't know that I have done a demo before, but nervous though I was of making a mess of it, and worrying about looking foolish as I struggled to get off my chair, I was very touched to be asked.  

Although Tammy had the harder part. All I basically had to do was to say "Yes" at regular intervals, and to briefly summarise the information below.     Our demo was based on an experience Tammy had just had on the doors.  

She had decided to go straight to the ransom, as this is the time of year, when, in theory, people should be thinking about Jesus. Although I must also note that we do not know the date of Jesus birth - except that it was clearly not in midwinter.  Nor are we asked to celebrate it.  It is his death that Jesus asked us to memorialise. 

This was the material we used, from chapter 5 of the "What Does the Bible Really Teach?" book:

"Chapter Five: The Ransom—God’s Greatest Gift

What is the ransom?
How was it provided?
What can it mean for you?
How can you show that you appreciate it?

WHAT is the greatest gift you have ever received? A gift does not have to be expensive to be important. After all, the true value of a gift is not necessarily measured in terms of money. Rather, when a gift brings you happiness or fills a real need in your life, it has great value to you personally.

2 Of the many gifts you could ever hope to receive, there is one that stands out above all others. It is a gift from God to mankind. Jehovah has given us many things, but his greatest gift to us is the ransom sacrifice of his Son, Jesus Christ. (Matthew 20:28) As we will see in this chapter, the ransom is the most valuable gift you could possibly receive, for it can bring you untold happiness and can fill your most important needs. The ransom is really the greatest expression of Jehovah’s love for you.

WHAT IS THE RANSOM?

3 Put simply, the ransom is Jehovah’s means to deliver, or save, humankind from sin and death. (Ephesians 1:7) To grasp the meaning of this Bible teaching, we need to think back to what happened in the garden of Eden. Only if we understand what Adam lost when he sinned can we appreciate why the ransom is such a valuable gift to us."


The book, which shows how the Bible answers those questions, is being offered to you on your doorsteps, without charge.

That was last night. And this morning, the promised storm has arrived.  I heard it arriving in the early hours, and the Channel is now roaring away outside the window like a million freight trains.  No snow down here though. At least, not yet.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Original Helicopters

Migrant Hawker, Aeshna mixta
We went to a talk in Arundel with Terry on Monday night.  It was all about the original helicopters - Dragonflies and Damselflies.  They are more wonderfully engineered than the most complex machine we have ever managed to put into the sky - and more beautiful than the finest Tiffany jewel.  If Tiffany made jewellery?  Or am I thinking of Faberge and his Eggs?  More exquisite than anything they made, anyway.
Large Red Damselfly, Pyrrhosoma nymphula
And yet "the world" is determined that we shall believe they evolved...     I don't know how Dragonflies could speak more clearly of their Grand Creator than they do - especially when you see them in a slide presentation. You see the detail, the colour, the stained-glass wings.  I shall rifle through Captain Butterfly's Dragonfly Gallery and choose some pictures for the blog.
Common Blue Damselfly, Enallagma cyathigerum
Terry treated us to a cup of tea and a mince pie in the interval. Thanks Tel.  And thanks to the Arundel Wetland Trust staff for baking for us.   Or did those mince pies just evolve?   If so, no need for thanks.

And if the Dragonfly just evolved, no need to thank anyone for it. But, if it was created, wouldn't we want to say thanks?

That was what started me on my search. Wanting to thank Someone for it all.

Dragons and Damsels are fierce little carnivores at the moment of course, but when Paradise is restored we shall see them as they are supposed to be.

I was out on the work yesterday morning - with difficulty - bad night - but Cathy and I finished our territory and had a couple of good talks on the doorsteps.  As promised the wind has started to get up - and the waves are running across the Channel.  There is supposed to be a big storm on the way.

Though its sunny this morning, and the Channel outside my window is only rippling. But I am trapped indoors until my frightening arthritis medication gets delivered. It has to be signed for, and go straight to the fridge.

Monday, 8 December 2014

A Hoard of Treasure Seekers

Or Detectorists, as I must more correctly call them.  But what would be the collective noun?  A ringing, or pinging, of Detectorists?  Anyway, whatever it is we were with them Saturday night for the end of year dinner.   It was a much nicer venue than the last time I was able to go.   Much more comfortable. It was a 3 course do.  My starter was a goats cheese tartlet with salad, that was very filling - not used to starters any more.  Then I ordered a veggie tagine.  It came in a banquet sized tagine, which I nibbled desperately away at, but didn't seem able to make much impression on. And dessert was an excellent panacotta, of which I only risked half (cream/arthritis, not a good combination).  Captain B helped me out with tagine and dessert.

And I made one glass of white wine last the whole evening, and didn't manage to finish it.  My banqueting days are clearly over.

It was a good evening though. We were with a nice crowd at our end of the table, and we won a bottle of champagne in the raffle.  We bought a bottle with us - Port - for raffle prize, and won another bottle.  So that seems fair enough.   We will probably welcome back Jackie from her travels with it.   I hope that doesn't count as gambling!

And after the meeting yesterday, which was wonderful, we were discussing the various covenants in the Inspired Scriptures, which provide the legal basis of all Jehovah's promises, Jean and I went off to try to find Margaret again. She wasn't home, but we left her the magazines as promised, with a little note on one of Col's butterfly cards.

Lilian of Arabia (now of Kent) rang later and we had a long talk.  We hope to meet up next year.

Friday, 5 December 2014

Another Poem

Wondering about the coming winter storms, I remembered a poem/verse I wrote ages ago.   I have no idea why I wrote it - certainly was not living by the sea then.   Obviously, I hope they won't be as bad as this.


HI TIDE
by me 

The sea had long wanted to go into town

So, early one morning, it roared in

Found the arcades still closed

And battered them down



The sea can come right into the village of Bosham sometimes.  When you visit, you have to be careful where you park your car, and you will notice that the front doors have very high - what would you call them - threshholds?  - seaholds?

Here is a video of an exceptionally high tide there:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i2oKX-PbkE0

It is believed that King Canute's little daughter is buried in the church at Bosham. Which makes me realise, once again, that the past is not as far away as we think it is. Its just that our lives are so short now.


Southern Flyers

Common Blues mating, Polyommatus icarus
Another landmark in my recovery.  My last trip to the Lagoon was on Christmas Day- between operations.  We had chicken sandwiches, a flask of tea, and watched the Merganser ducks.   And we went again Wednesday morning - to see more Mergansers. Though that was not what we were looking for- we were hoping to find - er - the Duke of Fritillary of the Duck world (i.e. I can't remember its name) - I am just checking with Captain Butterfly at the next computer - it was the Red-throated Diver duck - confusingly it has a white-throat in winter.

We didn't find them, but nice to see the Mergansers.   And I was able to walk all along the lagoon and back this time, plus do a little bit of bank scrambling.

Yesterday I was out on the field service with a young brother. We had a couple of long chats on the doorsteps, though it was very cold. And my knees still feel very uncomfortable when I have been standing for a while.   We finished our territory and I drove him to one of his regular calls before taking him home.  It was a lovely, if cold, morning.  And of course it was the meeting in the evening. Maggie is back, and I took her the 2015 calendars.
Sand Martin, Riparia riparia
It is a slightly different calendar this year, and we called it "Southern Flyers".  Not every shot is a butterfly, or a moth.  It is the best ever though.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Re-reading "The Mayor of Casterbridge".

The Mayor of C is surely Thomas Hardy's best novel.  Its the only one I re-read at any rate.  I am more a fan of his poetry.   He can be quite funny when he wants to - which is not very often. At least in The Mayor he can.

We - Jackie, Linda, the Captain and his missus - went to see Benedict Cumberbatch in "The Imitation Game" on Saturday night.  Supper at ours first (pie and mash, with cauliflower cheese and carrots courtesy of me, and sherry trifle, courtesy of Linda) - then  a walk to our little cinema.

What to say about it?  It was well-written and well-made.  There was no graphic violence and no sex scenes (the reviews had indicated as much or I would have dropped out).  It was all in the writing and acting.  So it passed a couple of hours pleasantly enough.   But, two problems...

Firstly, it distorted and twisted the story.  Of course you have to make changes to tell the story within the confines of a movie, but to do so that extent seems plain wrong.  I was reading about Alan Turing and, as far as I can see there was no question of his ever having been blackmailed into keeping quiet about a Russian spy, or ever having been suspected of it.   So why put that in the movie?

Secondly, we had to sit through the previews of the coming movies. At least it confirmed me in the wisdom of leaving the product of Hollywood well alone!   Thanks for the warning, I thought, as we sat there glumly watching horrid preview after horrid preview.

Oh, and another point is that the movie also reinforced the wisdom of the teaching in the Inspired Scriptures. They teach us to be "no part" of the world - to take no part in its divisive politics and cruel wars.  The world of espionage is a cruel and devious world to be a part of.

The only thing that tempted us to come back to the cinema was that they are putting on a re-jigged version of  "A Hard Day's Night".  That would be a trip in a time machine, back to our courting days.  But, if the preview is anything to go by, its going to be so loud that I won't be able to sit through it.

How long ago it all seems now... tempting to go though, and see a lost and vanished world up there on the screen.

Friday, 28 November 2014

Re-reading Barbara Pym

It was a sunset and a half last night.  Jehovah is the Grand Creator indeed!

This week I have been re-reading Barbara Pym's "A Few Green Leaves", and "An Unsuitable Attachment".    They get better and funnier on every reading and I shall try to find a couple of quotes to give a taster before the end of my blog

Ron took me on some of his calls yesterday. So it was a lovely, relaxed morning. We were trying to find a lady who stopped studying and coming to meetings due to family pressures, but who wants to come back. We didn't find her at home, but left a note, so she would know we are trying to contact her. And we were invited in by a very hospitable couple - both not at all well - and we swapped hospital stories, as well as consoling words.

Can't think what else I did.  Studied in the afternoon - talked to my desperately ill and despairing facebook friend.  And went to the meeting in the evening. I wish Ash (the fb friend) could have been beside me to be taught by the God of all comfort.  We all need that teaching so much, but he needs it with desperate urgency.  Anyway, I will keep emailing him, as he says he does like my emails.   I have sent him my Sally poems (they are really verse, not poetry) as he too loves dogs.  And I am trying to tell him what our hope is, as tactfully as I can.


Anyway, back to Barbara Pym.  A.L.Rowse said:  "I could go on reading her forever."   Yes. And dare I hope that, in the paradise earth, when Jehovah wakes her from the sleep of death, she will go on writing - and we can go on reading her forever?   Of course, we may not need fiction then. I don't know. But it will be paradise.  And that is all we need to know for the moment.

Here is a taste:

"An Unsuitable Attachment" begins:
"They are watching me, thought Rupert Stonebird, as he saw the two women walking rather too slowly down the road. But no doubt I am watching them too, he decided, for as an anthropologist he knew that men and women may observe each other as warily as wild animals hidden in long grass."

Yes.  The perfect harmony of  Eden, shattered by that one act of deliberate disobedience, has come to be a necessary wariness.

The nuances of the English class system, exactly as they were then, in 1963, are so beautifully and lightly observed and described.  But can the "unsuitableness" of John Challow, who is young, good looking, employed, and in love with our heroine, be comprehensible in today's world?

The unsuitability today might be that he isn't "buff" enough (horrid word), not tanned to the right shade of bright orange, and not earning enough to provide a designer-label lifestyle for our heroine.

And then there is the trip to Rome.   Here is Edwin Pettigrew, the vet (veterinary surgeon, not old soldier), in Rome:

"Edwin Pettigrew looked around him perfunctorily, yet impressed by the sheer size of everything. He was not a believer, though he sometimes went to church out of politeness to Mark and Sophia. He had to keep reminding himself that this was a holiday which his sister had persuaded him to take because he needed it.  Therefore he should be deriving benefit from it and the sight of so much gilt and marble must be doing him good.  But his thoughts kept returning to the Aberdeen terrier he and Daisy had seen the evening before in the Via Botteghe Obscure.  Such an unexpected sight, an Aberdeen terrier in Rome, and with an interesting condition of the tail glands which he had spotted immediately, though professional etiquette prevented him from drawing the owner's attention to it."

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

A Car Load of Siblings

Yesterday was a busy day - by my current standards.  Two loads of washing done - a big shop - Lidl's and Waitrose - much lugging of shopping bags upstairs as I came back to find the lifts not working! - emailing done - studying done - and I got some magazine route calls done - and two return visits.

Sadly neither return visit wants to talk to me again.  But the second one, a young lad, is moving away soon, and I said that wherever he is we will be calling, and please could he listen when we do.  He was very nice. They both were.

This morning I set off from the Kingdom Hall with a carload - 3 siblings.   We finished our territory in just under the hour and went off for a coffee - we were very cold by then and it had started to rain. I took the two brothers home and got back much later than usual worrying about the Captain's lunch. We always have it at 12.15, with Bargain Hunt.    But he had taken sandwiches and gone out into the wilds, so I wasted energy in pointless worry.

Haven't done much since, I must admit.

We - Jacks, the Captain and his missus - are all going to the cinema this weekend.  A rare thing for me, as I do try to avoid the product of Hollywood.  But Jackie wants to see the movie about Alan Turing. It sounds OKish... though I am a bit worried...   however, it does have Benedict Cumberbatch in it.  And all us girlies like him - even us elderly girlies. He's a very good actor too.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

At some lovely Doors

Jean and I finally managed to get back to call on the lady who had asked us for a "What Does the Bible Really Teach? " book.   We had a long talk with her - and are to go back.   She had taken the book for her son, but took another one for herself.  

She said that her son no longer blames God for the tragedy that has overtaken their family.  So how powerful Jehovah's word is.

We also found young Emma at home.  We seem to have got her out the shower!  So we couldn't talk for long, but she seemed pleased to see us, and happy with the info.   And Jean found two of her return visits at home as well.    It is so hard to find people in, so it was a good morning. Although it was a stressful one, as it was raining.  My car doesn't really de-mist, plus I couldn't remember how to turn the back window windscreen wipers on...

25 years of driving on Planet Expat, where there was no rain to speak of, has not really equipped me for driving in England.   I used to feel sick with apprehension about going out on the field service - because of the driving, not because of going to the doors (though like most of us, I do not find that easy either).  Now I am just nervous, at a more manageable level.  And thanks very much to Jehovah for that, as obviously I have prayed about it.

We were round at Jack's last night - Tom unable to join us sadly, still not well enough.  We had a wonderful roast lamb dinner.  You can trust Jackie with lamb, she cooks it properly, not fashionably - i.e. its cooked, not raw. And crispy roast potatoes!   Plus, after some subtle hints - ("Can I have some of that lamb to take home") - Captain Butterfly got a parcel of lamb we can have for our supper today. Perhaps a lamb salad?   Linda might be joining us, so I think I had better do some shopping after the meeting.

Its a grey and rainy morning here on the English Channel. And I must get some Windscreen Wiper re-training from the Captain before I set sail for the meeting.   Our Watchtower study today is: "The Last Enemy, Death, Brought to Nothing".  1 Cor.13:26   And I wish you could all be there, at your local Kingdom Hall, studying it with us.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Murmurations in Paradise

Its been something of a medical week - new glasses - xray - injections - longstanding pain in shoulder gone - what does it all mean - what will xrays show.  Xray technician handsome young lad with Scottish accent.  My favourite accent of all time.  He chatted to me about it all, not rushing me through the system, which my elderly self appreciated.   Not got out on the work so far this week... apart from some magazine route calls,  but hope to go out with Jean tomorrow.

Today I must do a big shop.

Captain Butterfly carries tirelessly on.  He has now got some murmurations - on still and on video. Our own local starling family sometimes murmur across the Green in front of our windows, but these are an Arundel murmur - and at that beautiful twilight "Empire of Light" hour too.

One of those moments when you see the Paradise earth. Satan has done his best to get us to ruin it, but you can still see paradise everywhere.

I have been talking to a very sick internet friend.  On top of coping with a frightening and debilitating illness, he now seems to be having a lot of family troubles. Just at the moment he is least able to cope with them.

I am hoping he might let his local JW congregation give him the information he so urgently needs.   As 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us: "All Scripture is inspired of God and beneficial for teaching, for reproving, for setting things straight, for disciplining in righteousness,"

It is all inspired by our Creator, and it will set everything straight, IF we pay attention and apply what we learn.  It teaches us how to deal with the problems that beset us now, in the right and productive way.  And, above all, it tells us of our sure rescue - so close now.

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

The Deceiver

The Deceiver, Laccaria laccata
People sometimes ask if retirement is boring. No. Its wonderful. The problem is lack of time and lack of energy.  By lack of time, I mean that so much time seems to be spent with medical matters.  For example, yesterday morning I took myself off to be fitted for my new specs. And the rest of this week is going to have more than its fair share of such things.

And as for energy...    just the specs, some route calls, and a bit of shopping finished me off.  I did manage my studying for the day, supper for us, and cards to Aunts Jo and Bea. We bought some pretty butterfly cards at the AGM.

I had a chat with one of my magazine route calls yesterday - and I read her Revelation 21:3-5.  She said she had never come across those words before, so I have typed them out and sent them in a card, to remind her. She needs the hope and comfort they hold out. We all do. And I hope hope hope that it might make her think why she did not know of this promise.

As I have said before, I learnt more about what the Bible on my shelf says in the first 20 minutes I spent talking to the Jehovah's Witnesses who called, than I did in all my years of churchgoing - both Catholic and Protestant.

Another two calls were not at home, but at least I delivered the magazines.  The Watchtower's main topic this month is Satan.   Revelation warns us he is "deceiving the entire inhabited earth".  But it also assures us that his time is very short now, and that a perfect rescue is so close at hand.

"Revelation 21:3-5:  "With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.  And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”  And the One seated on the throne said: “Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says: “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” "

Are these promises too good to be true?   No, Jehovah assures us they are "faithful and true".  Every cause for suffering will be gone.  Not one of Jehovah's promises has ever failed, nor will it.

Everyone on earth needs to know this.  Urgently.  Just watch the News, if you can bear to.

The fungi picture is from The Captain's Log - a fantastic Autumn blogpost. The title seemed apt, in view of Revelation warning us about "the father of the lie" - the one who told the first lie ever told in Eden, and brought this chain of disaster on us.

And, on a much happier note, It would be lovely to be out in the woodlands picking mushrooms, bringing them home to make wonderful soups, stews, curries...  but in this system of things I daren't. Even the most experienced of mushrooms gatherers can come to grief.   Why is this little fungus called "the deceiver" for example?   However, when the earth is restored to Paradise won't that be one of the joys of Autumn?

Monday, 17 November 2014

The Butterfly Conservation Organisation AGM - a good day out.

I hadn't realised how much trouble the Wood White butterfly was in until I heard the first talk at our Butterfly Conservation Organisation AGM this year.    But it is being helped - its numbers are on the rise again.   Though  I imagine the contrast with a century ago, where I expect they filled the woodlands.  They are a fairytale butterfly. I first saw them - or knowingly saw them (have to admit that all white butterflies were "cabbage whites" to me, for many years) - in Oaken Wood, when the Captain and I spent a day there some years ago. They flutter round the Rides, which is why it is so important they are maintained.   Once they are overgrown, the butterflies disappear.

What Butterfly Conservation has also found out is how important it is the full Ride is maintained. The ditches at the side have turned out to be very important.

When we try to help butterflies, which has to be based on getting to know more and more about them, and try to get things right for them, we get things right for other species too. And we also help ourselves. The City of Brighton and Hove got an award for its sterling work in the butterfly arena and the gentleman who accepted the award mentioned the friendships that had grown up among the group toiling away at the Butterfly coalface.

Everything is part of that perfect whole that existed in the beginning - that perfect balance. We cannot restore that harmony - that time when nature was not "red in tooth and claw". But in trying to, we are at least caring for the earth, as we were made to do.

And Jehovah will "bring to ruin those ruining the earth".  He will restore Paradise.  We need to remember that.   Because the moth and butterfly world is in deep trouble. And isn't it the same story for everything, worldwide?

What is the force driving this destruction?   The Inspired Scriptures clearly identify it, or rather him, as Satan the devil, "the original serpent".   The Watchtower magazine you are being offered at your doors this month is trying to alert people to this, in a forceful cover article.

We need the rescue Jesus taught us to pray for when he left us the Lord's prayer.

In the meantime, us at the Butterfly AGM experienced yet another extinction.  As we queued up in the sandwich bar for our lunch, we watched the pile of sandwiches dwindle and fail to replenish itself and half the queue was left facing a sandwich bar that had run out of sandwiches.

The young staff took a definite "Let them eat cake" stance.  (They had not run out of cake, to be fair.)  And it was left to the staff of Butterfly HQ to fly to our rescue and rush to the nearest M & S, where they conserve their sandwiches rather better.

Alan Sugar would have been in despair.   I suppose it wasn't one of those Apprentice tasks for the next series?

Overall, it was a very good day out.  And, as always, I learned a lot.  It reminded me that there is so much to learn, so much to know.  It reminded me that we are surrounded by miracles in plain sight: egg, to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly.   And it reminded me that I want to "inherit the earth", to live on it forever, helping to care for it, always learning about the Grand Creator.  I want to be here when the woods are full of Wood Whites again.

So thanks to all who organised, worked hard, and spoke; thanks for the amazing 3-D presentation taking us right into the caterpillar/butterfly world; and thanks to those who toiled all year to help the butterfly and moth creation.

And thanks above all to the Grand Creator himself, Jehovah, the God of Abraham.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

A Butterfly Weekend

Glasswing, Greta oto
We are just back from Warwickshire.  Exhausted.  It was dark and sometimes misty and rainy on the drive back.   It was the AGM of the Butterfly Conservation Organization.  

Our first stop was the Butterfly Farm in Stratford  - the conference was 20 minutes away.  It is worth a  visit if you find yourself there - very well laid out - lots of glasswing butterflies for the Captain to photograph- hatching pens, ponds with large carp (fat on their diet of tropical butterfly?), and flying flowers everywhere.  Plus they had a herd of darling little quail chicks running in and out of the greenery.  And there were some parakeets flying round, The noise they were making took me back to my expat days.
Quail
What was upsetting was the amount of dead and dying butterflies.  You had to be careful not to tread on them.  I felt what would have helped would be if they had had some kind of holding area for the butters just coming out of the hatching pens.
Parakeet on butterfly feeding table
Two large and beautiful ones tried to land on my face.   "Is that what happens when you are as lovely as any flower?" I trilled at Captain B.   "I plead the Fifth Amendment" he said glumly.

But then he brought a lovely blingy silver butterfly bracelet for me to dazzle all the delegates at the Convention with.

Thursday, 13 November 2014

The Team of Jenny and Sue, and the Team of Mike, Jackie, Cathy and Sue

The team of Jenny and Sue set sail from the Kingdom Hall at 10 clock this morning. We worked on one of the private roads, found a few people in, had a couple of conversations and can only hope we have sown a seed or two.  Its like trying to wake people from a deep sleep. And I know how fast asleep I was for so many years.

Jackie and I went to the giant Marks and Sparks at Shoreham... a girly shopping trip... yesterday morning.   We had coffee, bought nightwear, and visited the Food Hall. Once again a day of rain, sunshine and wonderful Autumn light.   She came for supper on Monday night - stir fry chicken and mushrooms with rice and spring rolls - followed by ice-cream and chocolate cake.

The stir fry turned out well, though I says it as shouldn't.  The rest was very good and courtesy of Waitrose.

And on Tuesday morning I worked with Mike, and Jackie and Cathy.  We did half an hour till the rain drove us off the doors, so I drove Mike and Jackie back home, and Cathy and I did some calls. We tried the bell of Dave the Mysterious, but yet again, no-one in.  I have emailed him, to ask if (a) he still wants the magazines and (b) if he still lives there!  But nothing.

I will have to pray about it  The letter box to his flat is ungettatable, unless you have the special trades code. And I don't.  So I will have to keep on posting the magazines to him, until I hear otherwise, or decide otherwise.

Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Re-educating the Crab Spider

Saturday was the Butterfly AGM. We set off in the morning, laden with a large box of marmalade muffins.   The Captain was on carpark duty and I was in the school kitchen.

Our first talk - after the tedious but necessary business of the Annual General Meeting  (ably and swiftly conducted by Nigel) - was by a professor who is an expert on moths and moth&butterfly wings.  I heard his name as Professor Moths, but was disappointed later to find out it was Moss.  I couldn't hear too well at all as my tinnitus was bad - screaming in my ear and making me feel quite dizzy at one point.

We broke for tea and cake, and I had intended to go and help serve but was detained on Membership Secretary business.  I turned up in time for the washing up and helped wash and dry millions of cups, plates and saucers until Michael Blencowe's talk began. We all rushed off to listen, leaving the rest of the pots for later. Captain Butterfly, helped us at the end of the day and we did get them all done.

Michael gave us a concise, interesting and funny review of the Butterfly year - including a small clip of his appearance on Springwatch.

We saw the beauty and the complexity of the world - the exquisite detail of the moth and butterfly wings alone speaks so clearly of the Grand Creator, Jehovah of armies.  

Two sad things.  Jehovah was neither mentioned nor thanked - so different from at the Kingdom Hall where we often discuss the beauty and the glory of the creation.     And also "the original serpent" is still in the garden.  We saw a crab spider munching on a severely endangered Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.  Very upsetting.   If it must eat butterflies for the moment, perhaps we could train it to eat a more populous species?

Although of course only the incoming Kingdom of God is going to restore the loving harmony in nature that prevailed in Eden.  
.
Butterfly Mark was there, though I only said a brief hello from the kitchen sink, where I was up to my elbows in soapy water and cups and saucers.

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The Third Circuit Overseer Talk

This was his last talk, after the shortened Watchtower study on Sunday.  Once again it is reconstructed from the notes I took - indecipherable scrawl, indecipherable scrawl - so not perfect, but I hope accurate.  My arthritic hands were getting feebler by the moment.   And this week my shoulders are bad, very painful - whinge, whinge.


CIRCUIT OVERSEER TALK, Sunday 2nd November 2014

DO NOT LET YOUR CIRCUMSTANCES CONTROL YOUR LIFE

How do we feel when we are victims of injustice, and when we see all the injustice around us?

And every one of us is a victim of injustice.  We are born imperfect and dying - we all suffer because of what Satan and our first parents did.   We suffer from our own imperfections - we become sick and die - and we suffer because we are no longer living in Paradise, but in a world full of injustice and violence.

How should we deal with it?   We are going to see how, with Jehovah's guidance, we can turn this negative situation into a positive, so that it doesn't overwhelm us.

We then read Proverbs 24:10: "If you become discouraged in the day of distress, Your strength will be meagre..

It's so easy to be discouraged but whatever the situation, we can take control.  How?

We then studied the example of Joseph - his behaviour in the face of injustice upon injustice.

We started with Genesis 37:3,4:  "Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his other sons because he was the son of his old age, and he had a special robe made for him.  When his brothers saw that their father loved him more than all his brothers, they began to hate him, and they could not speak peaceably to him."

Joseph was only 17.  It was not his fault he was his father's favourite, but it greatly enraged his brothers.

Did he wear this special robe often, too often?  Probably.  Would it have been more tactful not to?  Yes, but he was only a teenager.

We then looked at verses  5 to 11 (in Genesis 37):  " Later Joseph had a dream and told it to his brothers, and they found further reason to hate him. He said to them: “Please listen to this dream that I had. There we were binding sheaves in the middle of the field when my sheaf got up and stood erect and your sheaves encircled and bowed down to my sheaf.”  His brothers said to him: “Are you really going to make yourself king over us and dominate us?” So they found another reason to hate him, because of his dreams and what he said.  After that he had still another dream, and he related it to his brothers: “I have had another dream. This time the sun and the moon and 11 stars were bowing down to me.”  Then he related it to his father as well as his brothers, and his father rebuked him and said to him: “What is the meaning of this dream of yours? Am I as well as your mother and your brothers really going to come and bow down to the earth to you?”  And his brothers grew jealous of him, but his father kept the saying in mind."

This dream told Joseph that there would come a time when not only his brothers, but his parents too, would bow down to him.   Being seventeen, naive, exuberant, he rushed to tell them.  It goes down, as the Speaker says, "like a lead balloon" with his brothers.  But his father is more thoughtful about it.

We then looked at verse 18 in the same chapter:   "Now they caught sight of him from a distance, and before he reached them, they began plotting against him to put him to death."

That robe again!  Is that why they saw him from a distance?

We then read verses 19 and 20: " So they said to one another: “Look! Here comes that dreamer. Come, now, let us kill him and pitch him into one of the waterpits, and we will say that a vicious wild animal devoured him. Then let us see what will become of his dreams.”

This shows the hatred his brothers had for him.

The Speaker then read verses 26-28: "At this Judah said to his brothers: “What profit would there be if we killed our brother and covered over his blood?  Come, now, let us sell him to the Ish′ma·el·ites, and do not let our hand be upon him. After all, he is our brother, our flesh.” So they listened to their brother. And when the Mid′i·an·ite merchants were passing by, they lifted Joseph up out of the waterpit and sold him to the Ish′ma·el·ites for 20 pieces of silver. These men took Joseph into Egypt."

His brothers sold him for the price of a slave.   How must Joseph have felt?  He was only 17, none of this was his fault, he had done nothing wrong, apart from possibly being a bit tactless. He must have begged and pleaded with his brothers not to do this, but they sold him anyway.

He was then sold into Egypt, into the House of Potiphar.   Then, heaping injustice on injustice, when he was in his twenties, Joseph was imprisoned on false charges because he turned down the advances of Potiphar's wife.

Genesis 39:9:  "There is no one greater in this house than I am, and he has not withheld from me anything at all except you, because you are his wife. So how could I commit this great badness and actually sin against God?”

Psalm 105:17,18:  "He sent ahead of them a man Who was sold to be a slave, Joseph.  With fetters they bound his feet; His neck was put in irons"

He was confined in very cruel conditions, yet Joseph was innocent.

The Speaker then read Genesis 41:46:  "Joseph was 30 years old when he stood before Phar′aoh king of Egypt. Then Joseph went out from before Phar′aoh and traveled throughout all the land of Egypt."

He was sold into slavery at 17 - and released from prison at the age of 30.  So he spent 13 years in captivity - a lifetime at that age - and all because of jealousy.  He had strong reasons to be resentful about his stolen life.

So how did Joseph make something so positive out of it?

We can learn three lessons:

1.   Let go of resentment.
2.   Make the best of whatever situation we are in now.
3.  Wait on Jehovah.

That is what Joseph did.   He had an extraordinary life.  He went from slave to prisoner to Prime Minister - becoming the second most important man in the land!  He became the Food Administrator for the whole of Egypt

When he was in his late thirties, his father, Jacob, sent his sons to Egypt to obtain food, as Canaan was undergoing the severe famine prophesied in Pharaoh's dream.  The sons came in to the Food Administrator, and did obeisance to him.  So his dream came true.

They have no idea that he is their brother - there is an interpreter between them - they don't even know he can understand what they are saying.  But he knows who they are.

Genesis 42:21-25:  "And they said to one another: “We are surely being punished on account of our brother, because we saw his distress when he begged us to show compassion, but we did not listen. That is why this distress has come upon us.”  Then Reu′ben answered them: “Did I not say to you, ‘Do not sin against the child,’ but you would not listen? Now his blood is certainly being asked back.”  But they did not know that Joseph understood, for there was an interpreter between them.  So he turned away from them and began to weep. When he returned and spoke to them again, he took Sim′e·on from them and bound him before their eyes.  Joseph then gave the command to fill up their bags with grain and to return each man’s money to his own sack and to give them provisions for the journey. This was done for them."

Here Joseph is given a perfect opportunity to take revenge - yet he does the opposite.  He brings his brothers and their families to Egypt and places them in the Land of Goshen, the best of the land.    However, later, when their father dies, the brothers worry that Joseph might have been holding back for the sake of his father, and that he will now take his revenge.

Genesis 50:18-21:   "Then his brothers also came and fell down before him and said: “Here we are as slaves to you!”  Joseph said to them: “Do not be afraid. Am I in the place of God?  Although you meant to harm me, God intended it to turn out well and to preserve many people alive, as he is doing today.  So now do not be afraid. I will keep supplying you and your little children with food.” Thus he comforted them and spoke reassuringly to them."

He did not hold one ounce of resentment - he had truly let it go. 

Here is the example for us. Whatever the wrong, can we let it go?   Don't be eaten up by the injustice, as resentment can do even more harm than the injustice itself.

We can control our reactions.  I notice that I have underlined the following Scripture in my notes:

Romans 12:17-19:  " Return evil for evil to no one. Take into consideration what is fine from the viewpoint of all men.  If possible, as far as it depends on you, be peaceable with all men.  Do not avenge yourselves, beloved, but yield place to the wrath; for it is written: “‘Vengeance is mine; I will repay,’ says Jehovah.”"

The second lesson is that we can and should make the best of the situation we are in now.   Give attention to what we can do, and do it.   Genesis 39:4 says:  "Joseph kept finding favour in his eyes, and he became his personal attendant. So he appointed him over his house, and he put him in charge of all that was his."

That is what Joseph did, and Jehovah blessed him for it.  When he was in prison, did he give up?   Did he "put his feet up and play his xbox games"?    No.

Genesis 39:21-23 tells us:  " But Jehovah continued with Joseph and kept showing loyal love to him and granting him favour in the eyes of the chief officer of the prison. So the chief officer of the prison put Joseph in charge of all the prisoners in the prison, and everything that they were doing there, he was the one having it done.  The chief officer of the prison was looking after absolutely nothing that was in Joseph’s care, for Jehovah was with Joseph and Jehovah made whatever he did successful."

Joseph refused to be controlled by circumstances - he turned to Jehovah for help, and how wonderfully Jehovah helped him.

This is such a good lesson for us.  We can still serve Jah no matter what our circumstances.

Philippians 4:11-13 shows us how well Paul knew that:  "Not that I am saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be self-sufficient regardless of my circumstances. I know how to be low on provisions and how to have an abundance. In everything and in all circumstances I have learned the secret of both how to be full and how to hunger, both how to have an abundance and how to do without. For all things I have the strength through the one who gives me power."

But we can't do this in our own strength, we must always rely on Jehovah, our Creator.

So, to summarise, we can let go of resentment, make the best of our circumstances, and rely on Jehovah.

The Speaker closed with three Bible verses:

Genesis 45:5:  "But now do not be upset and do not reproach one another because you sold me here; because God has sent me ahead of you for the preservation of life."

Micah 7:7:   "But as for me, I will keep on the lookout for Jehovah. I will show a waiting attitude for the God of my salvation. My God will hear me."

Psalm 34:8:   "Taste and see that Jehovah is good; Happy is the man who takes refuge in him."

Yes.

Friday, 7 November 2014

Hello Julia! (and another Landmark)

Hello Julia, if you are reading this.  Lovely to talk to you this evening.

Its been a busy day for me - shopping - pile of ironing - making cakes for the Butterfly AGM tomorrow - marmalade muffins, 2 batches (they have turned out well, thank goodness) - and wading through my expenses as Audrey asked me if I would bring them with me tomorrow and she will write me a cheque. Its amazing how the postage costs add up.

Another landmark yesterday.   I went with Steve to Richard's Bible study.  It must be nearly two year since I last saw him as I couldn't get up the stairs in his flats.   He is coming on really well, but still isn't getting to the meetings.   The meeting was lovely - and Col chauffered me, which was a very nice surprise.  It was a wild and stormy night, with roadworks.

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

The Weather in the Streets

Pulborough Brooks
"I do want to come to England and see you, but when will it be warm there?"

That was a question Shantha, a friend in Saudi, asked me.  She is from Southern India, where it is always warm (to put it mildly). She found even the Saudi winter hard to take, so I was a bit at a loss to think of when would be a safe time of climate for her to come - beyond Do Not Come to the UK in Winter!!

Yesterday, for example, as the Team of Shirley and Sue rode out from the Kingdom Hall on the field service, it was a perfect Autumn day, and very mild.  The sky was a tender heartbreaking blue. The red berries and colours of Autumn glowed against it.  No clouds.   We did an hour (we both have bad backs) and I took Shirley home via a call she has (sadly the lady was out) went home, had lunch, and went straight out to shop - good time to find a Disabled space in the Waitrose carpark.  When I came out from my brief shop the skies were dark and it was cold and raining.  And it pelted it down for most of the rest of the afternoon.

Later in the day we had a rainbow.

The weather is an exciting and unpredictable thing in the UK.   And a summer's day here could be colder than any weather my friend has ever known.

Will she come one day though?  I hope so.


Monday, 3 November 2014

The Second Circuit Overseer Talk

(Once again, this is reconstructed from my notes, some of which I can't now read.  So I hope its all accurate if not complete).

HOW GODLY WISDOM BENEFITS US

C.O Talk 2nd November 1014

The Speaker started with an illustration about being with our mother in our childhood kitchen. She has cooked something for us and we refuse to taste it, on the grounds that we don't like it.  Reasonably she asks us how we can know if we like it or not if we refuse even to taste it.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

He was comparing this with the attitude many people today have towards the Bible. They reject it without even finding out what it contains.  Many people now would feel it is old-fashioned, simply out of date.  But have they actually read it?

We live in what is called an "enlightened age", so probably many people feel they have no need for guidance.  We have it sorted.   But... while we are so grateful for so many of the wonderful advances in science and medicine etc, there is a flipside.  Something is terribly wrong.  We only have to look at the news.

Why can we not get it right?   The Speaker then read Jeremiah 8:9:   "The wise have been put to shame. They have become terrified and will be caught. Look! They have rejected the word of Jehovah, And what wisdom do they have?"

They have rejected the word of Jehovah - so what wisdom they have?

The Speaker then read us Jesus' words at Matthew 11:18,19: "Likewise, John came neither eating nor drinking, but people say, ‘He has a demon.'  The Son of man did come eating and drinking, but people say, ‘Look! A man who is a glutton and is given to drinking wine, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ All the same, wisdom is proved righteous by its works.”"

The proof of the pudding is in the eating.

YOUNG ONES

The Speaker talked about what the world offers to our young ones, and what happens if you go along with it.    He read Proverbs 13:20: "The one walking with the wise will become wise, But the one who has dealings with the stupid will fare badly."

The world can make it seem that the moral standards set out in God's word are old-fashioned and restrictive - yet they are for our good, for our protection. They will keep us safe.

The Bible puts the world and all it offers into perspective and shows up its futility and emptiness.  What it offers its not real, not lasting.  It is like stage scenery.

We then looked at Psalm 119.9: " How can a young man keep his path clean? By keeping on guard according to your word."

And, with that verse in mind, he discussed the example of a young brother called Alexander.  He was brought up in the truth (Christianity being called "the way of the truth"), but when he became 19 he began to think much more seriously about it.  He began to read and study the Bible regularly, cutting down on other things to do so.   He started every day with Bible reading.   And he began to understand its value, to realise that Jehovah, our Creator really wants us to come to know Him

MARRIED COUPLES

The Speaker asked us how the world views marriage.  Doesn't it undermine marriage and the relationship between husband and wife at every turn?   Think of the pre-nup - the plan for the divorce set in place before the marriage!

How different Jehovah's view of marriage is.   We read Ephesians 5:28,33:  "In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. A man who loves his wife loves himself."   "Nevertheless, each one of you must love his wife as he does himself; on the other hand, the wife should have deep respect for her husband."

If both partners apply these principles, they will have a happy marriage.  There will still be problems of course - we are imperfect people, living in a very stressful world.  So, when problems occur, how should we handle them?   

The world will say: leave the marriage, flee from it.  But Jehovah's word tells us how to restore a peaceful relationship.  We looked at James 3:17,18: "But the wisdom from above is first of all pure, then peaceable, reasonable, ready to obey, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial, not hypocritical. Moreover, the fruit of righteousness is sown in peaceful conditions for those who are making peace."

If we apply the above, we seek peace, we can restore the peaceful relationship.

The Speaker then read, in contrast, James 3:14-16: "But if you have bitter jealousy and contentiousness in your hearts, do not be bragging and lying against the truth.  This is not the wisdom that comes down from above; it is earthly, animalistic, demonic.  For wherever there are jealousy and contentiousness, there will also be disorder and every vile thing."

The Speaker then gave the example of  Marilyn, a sister whose marriage became very troubled; but as she came to realise that there were faults and failings on both sides, she applied the principles above, and so her husband began to apply them too, and the relationship was healed.

He reminded us that we live in very challenging times and we need to cling to Jehovah's advice more strongly all the time.

ECONOMIC PRESSURES

The world will advise us to get and keep a high standard of living - whatever the cost to family life.  The speaker here read a Scripture that I didn't get noted down.   Some leave their families behind to go and work in another country where they can earn a much higher wage and give their family a better life materially. Some may stay away for years - only able to see their family once a year - maybe not even that.

There are great dangers in doing this. How can you provide emotionally and spiritually for your family when you are not with them?

There are great moral dangers too - with husband and wife being separated for years.  (I have seen a lot of this first hand, having been an expat myself for many years, with my husband. But many husbands were there without their wives, and wives without their husbands. Some were not able to leave, as the employer held their passport. There are many many dangers - so I know what wise advice this is.)

Husband and wife need to be together.  And the children need to be with the parents.  

If we listen to Jehovah and obey him, he will provide what we need.  We then read Proverbs 28:6:  "Better is a poor man who walks in his integrity Than a rich man whose ways are corrupt."

HEALTH PROBLEMS

We all want and need perfect health.   But not at any cost.  We should take great care of this precious gift of life, but not at the cost of our service to Jehovah.

We then read Proverbs 14:15:   "The naive person believes every word, But the shrewd one ponders each step."

Some alternative healing methods involve the occult.   We must be careful and must let Jehovah's word guide all our health decisions.

Studying, being at our meetings, witnessing will help us in every way.   Jehovah understands if we can't do as much as we would like.  He only ever asks of us what we can do.    We talked about the Widow's mite. That tiny amount of money she put in the Treasury Chest was all she had, and was very precious to Jehovah.

COPING WITH THE STRESS OF LONELINESS

The Speaker read 2 Corinthians 4:18: " while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting."

Many are single within the truth, for various reasons, but never forget that we have 8 million siblings!    We belong to a warm, loving, worldwide family.


In conclusion, whatever challenges we face, if we always trust in the wisdom of Jehovah - the wisdom in his Inspired Word, the Bible - we will come through safely.

Our last Scripture was James 1:5, a lovely reassuring verse:    "So if any one of you is lacking in wisdom, let him keep asking God, for he gives generously to all and without reproaching, and it will be given him."


STUDY, PRAY AND ASK JEHOVAH FOR WISDOM
TASTE AND SEE THAT JEHOVAH IS GOOD FOR ALL ETERNITY



I drove to Arundel on Saturday morning - with much fear and trembling and a lot of prayers to Jehovah.  One of my young brothers came with me to navigate, as I didn't know the particular territory we were going to.    I prayed extra for him, my precious cargo - a young brother and father - that I would drive safely and well.

And I have to say it went so smoothly. The roundabouts emptied as we got there and we sailed round in stately fashion. Lloyd said what a lovely easy run we were having, and I admitted I had been praying a lot about it.   We got there first I think!    And I worked with the Circuit Overseer's wife, so I learnt a lot.  As I have from the whole visit.  Its applying it now, of course.

And we went to Jackie's for supper - chicken kiev, with veggies and ratatouille - followed by carrot cake.  A lovely funny evening as always, with great food (as always).

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Should he have gone to Specsavers?

"I'm going to Flat No ... this morning to deliver the October magazines," I informed Captain Butterfly. "So, if the guy there is dazzled by my beauty and decides to kidnap me for his harem, you will know what to do!"

"Don't worry" said the Captain, "If that happens, I'll rush him to Specsavers, pronto."

I wonder what treatment Specsavers would recommend for a husband with two black eyes?

I went to the Field Service group yesterday afternoon, and Jane kindly came out with me.  And I drove her round the remains of her magazine route calls for October. We were both trying to get them done before November starts.  And hopefully we now have.  We had a lovely talk with a lady who has just had a new hip installed, and were able to commiserate with each other.  So I felt useful. Another gift from Jehovah, and another reason to rejoice in the truth.

She coped well with my driving, being a valiant sister.

I also supplied Captain Butterfly with his sandwich lunch, and made us veggie soup for supper - plus some studying and a whole load of washing - and talked to Bea. She is creating some intriguing pincushion art at the moment.   And the Arthritis nurse phoned - it looks like a shoulder xray may be looming up...