Monday, 18 April 2011

Going part-time

This is more of a public service announcement than a blog post. 

I love writing my thoughts down, it's quite therapeutic and, at times, cathartic.  It is also quite time consuming.  You are forgiven if you are surprised at that.  When you read some of the rambling rubbish I churn out I'm sure it seems like it's been thrown together in a matter of minutes but that's far from the case.

I am reasonably slow of thought and putting a post together can take me quite some time and, at the moment, is taking me more time than I have.  The upshot is that I am going part-time. 

I'm much too much of a megalomaniac to stop posting altogether so instead I'll put a post up when I'm particularly exercised or enthused to do so.  Updates, as ever, can be found through the might of 'facebook' and I hope you will not forget me in between times.

God bless,


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Where have all the heroes gone?

(DISCLAIMER: I wrote this while in a bad mood.)

Are people getting increasingly pathetic?

It used to be that when a person committed themselves it meant something.  It was a promise and a promise was a precious thing that should not be broken.  I wonder if that still holds.

Do we molly-coddle our children and young people too much?  Do we indulge them so much that their backbones fail to develop properly?  And at what age does someone become an adult these days?

In days of yore children (there where no kids in those days just children) left school at 12 years old and did one of two things:  they either got paid employment or they worked in the house.  Over the years that age has been pushed up and up to reflect the importance that society has placed on education and I for one think that is a good thing.

The problem is that along with lengthening the period of full-time education the period of childhood has been artificially lengthened in the process.  I fell foul of this myself, I didn't leave home until I married at 28, I should've contributed more to my family home whether with money or with practical things.  In spite of this I still knew what responsibility was, I still knew that if someone was relying on me I had to follow through; if I had made a promise I had to fulfill it.

I'm tired.  I'm busy.  I need a social life.  I'm not feeling well.  These all seem to be acceptable reasons for letting people down, they're not.  (And while I'm at it; 'sorry' seems to no longer be the hardest word.  It's used frequently and disingenuously.)

Not all young people are like this of course.  I know a few who are real corkers, unfortunately they are becoming few and far between.  What do you think?

Above all, my brothers, do not swear—not by heaven or by earth or by anything else. Let your “Yes” be yes, and your “No,” no, or you will be condemned.
James 5:12

Wednesday, 13 April 2011


Juliet Turner: Broken Things

You can have my heart
But it isn't new
It's been used and broken
And only comes in blue
It's been down a long road
And it got dirty on the way
If I give it to you will you make it clean
And wash the pain away

You can have my heart
If you don't mind broken things
You can have my heart if you don't mind these tears
Well I heard that you make old things new
So I give these pieces all to you
If you want it you can have my heart

So beyond repair
Nothing I could do
I tried to fix it myself

But it was only worse when I got through
Then you walked right into my darkness
And you speak words so sweet
And you hold me like a child
Till my frozen tears fall at your feet

You can have my heart
If you don't mind broken things
You can have my heart if you don't mind these tears
Well I heard that you make old things new
So I give these pieces all to you
If you want it you can have my heart


Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Scrubbers unite

There's nothing quite like a thorough spring clean.

It's been a long winter with cold days and dark nights.  You go out in the dark and you come home in the dark.  Housework is not the priority and you go into 'ticking-over' mode.

Then spring arrives. The days lengthen, your mood brightens and you're up for some rigorous scubbing.  You pull out wardrobes and fridges, dust the top of lampshades and rearrage the book shelves.  Things need sorted and you sort them.

Time for a spring clean of the heart too.  You've been tired and let things slide.  You're still not talking to that friend because the first conversation will be too much hassle, you've indulged in something wrong but comfortable, you've been doing the same old things without any thought as to whether they are the right things for you or not.

Take some time with God, let him clear all the cobwebs and help you get back on the right track. Spring cleaning can feel like a real chore but imagine if it never got done!

Create in me a pure heart, O God, 
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10

Monday, 11 April 2011

Real men make lemon curd

My masculinity has been questioned.

Volunteering to do dishes, making lemon curd and watching Glee have all, in the last few days, been used as evidence as to my declining manliness. Today I plan to do some DIY, growl at some children and high-five a binman to redress the balance. 

But what really makes a man a man, or a woman or a woman?  What makes a man a gent or a woman a lady?  Do these things really matter?

What do you think?


Friday, 8 April 2011

The prodigal dog

Rocky got knocked down yesterday.

He got out of the house via the front door (special thanks to the silly man who left the door open) and scarpered.  This is Rocky's way, when he's out of the house he just runs and runs, he pays no attention to anyone.  I feared he wouldn't come back.

Having not seen what way he went I jumped into the car and drove around Rathcoole asking anyone if they had seen a wee black dog with white markings.  No joy.

After a bout 10 minutes or so I went back to the house to see if he was around there and lo and behold, there he was in next-door's front garden.

The vet's

I was delighted to see him but soon realised he was in a bad way.  He was covered in scraps and scratches, lumps of hair were missing and he was bleeding from several places.  Into the house we went and he was clearly in pain.  So a trip to vet's, an examination and an x-ray later and he's now in recovery in the doggy hospital.  He 'gotta qwere whack' but he should be OK after a couple of weeks was the assessment. Let's hope so. We hope that whoever hit him is OK too, it can be a real shock to hit an animal.

Rocky ran away from home, made a mess of things but came back.  That is the key thing, the wee dog knew where home was.  He shouldn't have ran away in the first place but when he was at his lowest point he at least had the sense to come home. 

In Luke 15 Jesus tells a parable about two sons.  The lesson of the story is that God loves us.  If we run from Him and live our lives how we want, He won't reject us when we realise that life without Him sucks.  He will love us simply because He loves us.  And if we work hard and do all that He asks but only do it to get His blessing and not out of love, He won't reject us when we realise we can't earn God's favour through good works.

God is patient, merciful, forgiving and loving.  If you've run away from Him, run back home now!

'While he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.'
Luke 15:20


Thursday, 7 April 2011


It was a good day.

The sun was out, the sky was blue, there was not a cloud to spoil the view.  Rocky was in good form.  He had been out for a long walk and swim with the Sage-On-The-Hill and Dennison the Menacin' and now he was out again shortly after.  Little did he know that he was on his way to a playdate with Bailey. 

Roger and I were slightly concerned that they would not get on as well as they might but it turns out they get along just dandy.  Rocky had a quick sniff at the little one before continuing with his usual manic ADHD walking style.  Bailey was just happy to keep up.

Bailey got all the atttention from the many other dog-walkers in the park (do these people have no work to go to?) and Rocky was content to step in every inch of dirty puddle he could find.

Isn't it great when we all get along, when the tension is resloved when peace breaks out.

Who are you not at peace with? Friends, family, work colleagues?  Is it not worth fixing the broken relationships in our lives?

Do it.

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
John 13:34


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

There will be blood

Today Rocky and his nemesis will meet for the first time.

The summit will be hosted on neutral territory and there will be a chief negotiator present for each side.  Will it be peaceful? Will there be reconciliation? Will there be blood?

If, when we're all out for our walk, both parties are determined to be stubborn, determined to stand their ground and be top dog dominating the other, then a healthy relationship will not be possible.  Similarly when we come to God, unless we relent and recognise that we are not the rightful Kings of the world or even the rightful rulers of our lives a good relationship with God will not be possible.

We want to be the ones to decide how we live our lives but that directly challenges God's right to do so.  This is not a point for compromise.  We cannot dethrone God and expect the world or ourselves to survive the consequences.

Hopefully Rocky and Bailey will realise that it will be best for everyone if the respect each others roles and choose to love rather than hate.  Hopefully we will all recognise God for who he is and live a full and joyful life rather than one at war with the creator of the world.

To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.
Deuteronomy 10:14
Here is an 14 year old clip of a modern classic worship song sung by 45,000 people.


Tuesday, 5 April 2011


I'm getting a tattoo.

(I'm not getting a tattoo, but let's just pretend.) A Tattoo is for life, unless you have a lotta lotta money to have it removed which I don't, so my (imaginary) tattoo will be permanent.

It has to be something that will be relevant my whole life long.  I have no heirs so I won't getting etching the names 'Princess-tiddlywink' or 'Matthew' just incase they never arrive.

I could have 'Rocky' emblazened up my side in Chinese heiroglyph or 'Crusaders till I die' in Hebrew from my ankle to my knee but that would be a little wierd.

Another option would be a full face tattoo of a clown so I always looked ironically sad even when making others laugh or have eyeballs tattooed on my eyelids so I always look awake.  So many good options.

The (very slight) danger is that I may regret some of these things in years to come. I may change my mind about having a permanent red nose or have doubts about the name 'Matthew'.  So is there anything that would be for me as permanent or more permanent than a tattoo?  Just one.

I am God's.  That is not going to change.  Not because I have incredible self-will (because I don't) and not because it is so great being God's child (although it most certainly is) but because God choose me, He saved me, He is refining me, and He will sustain me.  God is bound by His own word to never let go of the ones He has saved and I am one of those ones!

If I trust in myself I am beat.  But if I trust in God I am forever safe.

So what will my new tattoo say?  In bold lettering, so evryone can see, it will read:

 This man belongs to God. 


You are not your own; you were bought at a price.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20

I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. I and the Father are one.
John 10:28-30


Monday, 4 April 2011

You ain't got no alibi

81,729,433 and counting.

That's the number of hits Rebecca Black's song Friday has recieved on Youtube.  I am not a musical expert, I can barely sing in tune but in my opinion the song, while catchy, is pretty weak.  Some people are calling it the worst song ever and I find it hard to disagree with that.


This little girl (13 years old) is having a go.  She has a decent voice and she's made a video that I would've been pretty chuffed with at 13. The reason I'm even mentioning her is not because I love or hate the song but because of the response to her on the world-wide internet.

The girl has had over 1.6 million dislikes on Youtube which is fair enough as that function is well known to anyone uploading to that website.  But some of the comments are wrong, cruel and unnecessary.  In my opinion the worst comments are the ones calling Rebecca Black ugly.  She is not ugly by any stretch of the imagination.  But who is, what makes a person ugly?

I would suggest that beauty comes from the heart and so does ugliness.  Be careful that your own heart is not ugly.  Are you proud, boastful and unable to take criticism?  Do you think of yourself better than you ought, better than those around you?  Do you feel free to criticise people you don't know, to ridicule their looks, personality or talent?  Do you feel superior and condemn others when the only thing stopping you from behaving as they do is the grace of God?

Are you ugly? Am I?

The only person who can make us beautiful is the Lord Jesus Christ.  He died to take away our ugliness and make us beautiful in the eyes of God. If He has done that, made us beautiful, then we have nothing to boast about because it not a result of our effoerts but the unmerited grace of God.

So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them; 
male and female he created them.
Genesis 1:27


Friday, 1 April 2011

Everybody needs good neighbours

At last, a good news story from Rathcoole!

For years and years all the press associated with the great estate of Rathcoole has been negative and the main culprit for that have been paramilitary groups who are keen to establish a power base for themselves built on drugs and money.  That has been an ugly reality for a long time but it is not the whole story.  The estate has a great sense of community and a kind streak running through the middle of it.

'The present sight is unacceptable'
This week it was reported in the local press that Rathcoole is to have a new group of residents.  Deputy Mayor of Newtownabbey, Tommy Kirkham, has been  instrumental in donating a piece of land in Rathcoole known as 'The Diamond' over to a group of Irish Travellers who have been evicted from numerous sites in the area recently. (Read the full story here.)

The Diamond football pitches are still used regularly but the Deputy Mayor said, 'There is enough capacity at the Diamond to accommodate both the existing football commitments and our homeless friends from across the divide'.  He goes on to say that recent television programmes like, 'My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding' raised his awareness of this 'great sub-culture and religion' and believes the encampment in Rathcoole will be a welcome addition to the community there.

This is a surprising but exciting development in Rathcoole, bringing two diverse people-groups together.  Mr Kirkham played down the £3 million of government funding for the scheme which will be channelled through his office.  I for one am looking forward to meeting  and interacting with our new neighbours.

I'll leave you with a quote from the head of this particular group of Travellers, Mr. B. O'Boyle, 'We wish to thank Mr Kirkham and the people of Rathcoole for their very kind invitation.  We would like to invite them to visit us in our 'vans, get to know us and enjoy a drink together.'  And why not?

 ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
Matthew 25:34:36

And now a video from the home of good news stories.