Rememberance

Today is Rememberance Sunday. A time when we remember those who gave their lives in all the wars. Often it was for us to have our freedom and live our lives in peace. Today was also the day I handed in my Operation Christmas Child boxes to church. One of the members stood up and explained why it was important for us to give these boxes and it’s revelance to Rememberance Sunday. A lot of the boxes go to places that have been ravaged by war. By giving a box or in my case 4 I have shown to those who are left behind that they are not forgotten either. By having my minutes silence I also say a silent thank you and a prayer to those who have gone.

It does seem funny to mix Christmas and Rememberance up together but I also have another reason to link the two. One of my honourary Aunties is very ill. She is one of the generation who witnessed the Second World War. I always think of her around Christmas as she always gave us a gift. Now I know what you are thinking as an adult now how can you remember the gifts you had as a child? You are right I can’t remember the exact gift but I can remember how they turned up at our house. They always came badly wrapped and was made up of odd bits and pieces; often my sister and I had to say which bit we wanted. It made us smile both as a child and as an adult. It showed that she loved us, cared about us and thought of us. Last year because she was so ill I didn’t get a present from her although apparantly a box of chocolates had been put to one side for me somewhere (they have probably been eaten by now!). It seems that this year may be the same, but what I will remember is that all she had to give was love and that afterall is the greatest gift anyone can give.

After Bonfire Night . . .

Comes the countdown to Christmas.  Say that to any woman and I’m sure she will go into panic mode thus leading to a meltdown.  After all it is us women who do most of the work!  This year I will not panic.  We’ve scaled down Christmas this year, only gifts to family and Godchildren.  Mostly due to the economic climate but also in an attempt to get back to the real meaning of Christmas – CHRIST’S BIRTH and the gift of GOD’S LOVE.

On Bonfire Night we usually have a houseful of friends to celebrate this Great British Tradition.  Now I’m not going to talk about the history of it.  If you are really interested then Google it.  Nor am I going to discuss the ethics of whether or not I should celebrate this or not due to the fact I was brought up Catholic.  I’m going to talk about two traditional dishes from my homeland of Yorkshire – Parking and Bonfire Toffee.  Due to work commitments we couldn’t have our party.  However that didn’t stop me from making them!

Parkin is a type of Ginger cake.  It usually has Oats or Oatmeal in it.  Now me being Coeliac means I should in theory avoid Oats but I’m usually fine with them if they are pure.  In the recipe I’ve got it uses Soya Bran to replace the Oats.  Soya bran I find is hard to get hold of so I used Brown Rice bran instead.  The result is the same and it tastes delicious!

Bonfire Toffee is rarely heard of south of Nottinghamshire.  I remember in my early years of living down here going to various sweet shops asking for it.  Bear in mind my accent was a bit stronger then than it is now so obviously there was trouble in understanding what I was on about.  Even when I finally managed to explain what I was looking for to the owners they just shook their heads and said that they had never heard of it!  I know they have it in Nottinghamshire as I once brought a whole jar of it from a sweet shop.  That shop owner thought I slightly mad too!   Now I know that seemed greedy to buy a whole jar but I can promise you at the time I did share it!  I now know how to make it and so this has become my annual tradition to make a batch at this time of year.

Bonfire Toffee      Parkin on the left, Bonfire Toffee on the right

 

The talk of tradition leads me back to Christmas and spreading God’s love around.  It was time to play Santa for Operation Christmas Child.  I had spent over the past few weeks, in order to spread the cost, collecting items for the boxes.  Helping out in a Branch Library helped me due to the number of budget shops in that area.

Bits, Bobs and Boxes

It took me the whole afternoon to decorate and fill up the boxes.  Four altogether- two for Boys and two for Girls.  Once finished I felt a sense of pride and achievement.  There was a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat.  I will never see their smiles or hear their thank yous but I know by my generous heart reaching out to theirs will change their life.  I thank and praise God for giving me the resources and the opportunity to make a difference.

Normally I knit a few bits and bobs for the project as well.  However I only managed a couple of scarves as I’ve been busy knitting other things.  I’m really excited about my next project working with Stitch Solihull.

        

Can you guess what they will be? Watch out in a few weeks for the reveal!  Must dash – Got to set up the pins!

The Vicar’s view

Wednesday was Bible Study and the thing I’ve been pondering on got given the Vicar’s view. He used the reading taken from Sunday 1 John 3. 1-3

This verse states that we are Children of God.  Since we are Children of God we are made in His image which means God’s spirit is within us even when we are at odds with Him.  We don’t deserve His grace and love but He bestows it in bucket fulls upon our lives regardless.  We need to return everything to God.  To do this we need to focus on this verse.  Stick to the promises made.  It is our purpose and vision to live in the now, to look at our lives to see how it reflects God’s love to others.  To develop depth so when we go about our daily business people can see that we are Children of God.