Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Twelve Days of Christmas

Welcome to all those who followed the link in our newsletter. We wish you all a stress free Christmas. The Carol Service went well. Nettes did all the organising and leading and I did the PowerPoint and a short gospel message on peace. We also had a little art display on images of Christmas for people over the buffet that followed.

Now Christmas is starting at home. Decorations are going up: Our tree this year is a Jesse Tree, elements of which have been going up throughout advent. We’ve covered our Christmas card holders in brown paper with large versions of this year’s Christmas stamps. And oh yes, we’ve got some beads to hang up soon and we mustn’t forget the flowers.

Over our twelve days of Christmas we’ve got a little present for Callie to open each day, including a book on Saint Nicolas. We’ve got meals planned out for each of the days with responsibilities equally shared between me and Nettes. Our special meal for Christmas Eve will be a Thai Green Veggie Curry. Having just watched ‘What’s in Your Christmas Dinner’ on Channel Four we have great sympathy vegetarian diet although we are not veggie ourselves.

Christmas Peace to you all. Keep in touch.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Pray for the Hostages

Nothing has been heard of the four hostages held by the Iraqi group the Swords of Righteousness since the deadline for their execution passed on Saturday. The four men Norman Kember, Tom Fox, James Loney and Harmeet Singh Sooden were working Christian Peacemaker Teams in Iraq when they were captured. By all accounts they were working for peace not spying as they are accused of by the Iraqi group. CPT is a group of Quakers, Brethren, Menonite and other Christian groups that supports non-violence and so has always opposed the war.

Tom Fox, anticipating being kidnapped said not to pay ransom for his return. He also said to reject the use of violence in trying to win his freedom and not to speak ill his abductors, but instead to try to understand the motives of their actions. We don’t know if they are still alive or not. But if they had been executed then I would have thought that a video of this would have been released by now. I hope they are trying to find a way to release them without losing face and can think of one quickly.

In the meantime all we can do is pray.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Christmas Stress Pills

This present idea made me laugh.

After working so hard at college recently I’m now hit by the preparations for Christmas. I would prefer to avoid all this fuss about Christmas but the problem is if I don't put effort into the planning and organising soon enough then I'll end up with things that I'm not happy with.

I managed to buy books from Amazon today, just in time. It wouldn't have mattered that much because this year we are celebrating twelve days of Christmas. So our daughter will be opening presents over the whole holidays.

I should be able to cope with stress better than some people, as last night I was teaching stress management to one of my evening classes. It's all to do with changing how you look at the world and learning techniques to tackle those things that cause you stress rather than just treating the symptoms.

I'm beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel as I get on with all the preparations. So I won't actually need any of these Christmas Stress Pills. Seriously, if you are thinking of buying any presents a really good place to look is