Merry Christmas, friends!!
And here’s a peek at my year!
Feb—Cancer (false) scare, ultrasound, biopsy, and I re-learn the great lesson, “Do not be afraid.” A restful half-term break on Barton by the Sea, by the New Forest .
In March: enjoyed a day at Tearfund’s Headquarters, listening to the CEO Matthew Frost, tell us about the real hunger games.
April—Istanbul. I am impressed by the persistence of beauty, despite all the devastation of the past; wonder if heaven will look a little bit like the Hagia Sophia; and muse on the dangers of theocracies. My favourites: The Blue Mosque, The Hagia Sophia of course, The Topkapi Palace, and the amazing Bosphorus Cruise, in the narrow strait between Europe and Asia.
Later that month, Patricia Bootsma, leader of Catch the Fire, Toronto, birthplace of the Toronto Blessing, prophesies out of the blue about my daughter Zoe, who was not there, and of whose existence she did not know. It changes Zoe’s outlook on life, and infuses much hope into our hearts.
Zoe later does brilliantly in her A-S exams, all A’s and 100% in Religion. She plans to read Theology at University, and has had several excellent university offers so far.
June finds us on the road again. A rhythm of six sedentary weeks of reading and thinking, followed by an active week or two of adventure and travel suits us best. (We are making the most of being self-employed!) We visit the amazing Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and wild, remote County Donegal in the Republic of Ireland.
July – A visit from Roy’s brother Jeph, sister-in-law Kaaren and their bevy of charming children. And a course in the Christian History of Oxford at Wycliffe College, the local Anglican theological college. I was surprised by the immense impact that theology had on this city. I learn about John Wesley’s call to stand apart from a generation of triflers; agree that Calvinism is clever, but wonder what Jesus would have made of it; and conclude that if our theology makes us cry, our theology is too small.
August—We buy a motor home, and set off on an epic trip to Denmark, through England, France, Belgium, Holland and Germany. We visited Haderslev, Hans Christian Andersen’s birthplace Odense, and Copenhagen, where I loved the Scandinavian prehistory section in the National Museum of Denmark.
I enjoyed listening to Heidi Baker at River Camp, and, especially, Mark Stibbe’s brilliant talk on writing. And then, the spiritual smorgasbord at the Revival Alliance conference (Heidi Baker, John Arnott, Bill Johnson), in which dozens of eyewitnesses, including my children, and a friend of ours, an Oxford-educated Physics teacher, claimed they saw diamonds materialize, as witness claim they do at Bill Johnson’s church, Bethel, in Redding, California. My take-away (literally) was the ten-minute praise timer recommended by Carol Arnott which beeps every ten minutes, reminding you to praise and worship God. I love using it.
October—I enjoyed a retreat at His Place, a Christian retreat centre at Saarland, Germany, and love Luxembourg.
December—We visit Malta. Highlights—the bay where St. Paul was shipwrecked; Malta’s Neolithic temples; Ramla Bay, and the magical Azure Window in Gozo.
Other highlights—Listening to the Bible in a Year, discovering Audible and listening to numerous books on tape as I walk, and beginning to use AntiSocial, an app which locks me out of the web when I write. I am slowly getting back into the groove of “real” writing, after taking 4 years out to work on the family business, and my blog has been a source of joy, pleasure and personal growth.
Henry Nouwen wrote, “To celebrate life together, to be together in community, to simply enjoy the beauty of creation, the love of people, and the goodness of God—these seem faraway ideals. There seem to be a mountain of obstacles preventing people from being where their hearts want to be.” We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year of being where your heart wants to be. And “Amor, salud y pesetas y el tempo para gustarlos …” Love, health and pesos and the time to enjoy them!!