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.
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


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."


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).


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.


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


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.


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."


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.


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."


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...