Archive for April, 2009

Yesterday the Vicar and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary.

I’ve got a bit hopeless at anniversaries these days, but spotted some English asparagus going cheap at Sainsbury’s that morning. So I cooked two big bundles of it. We added shaved parmesan, freshly ground black pepper, drizzles of lemon juice and extra-virgin olive oil and some Sainsbury’s Basics salami, which is very thinly sliced.

It was delicious, and at a perfect temperature after the Vicar took it into the living room first to get better light for his photograph. We ate it with bread on the side to mop up the oil and lemon.

Impressive, eh?

Looks professional, eh?

PS The Joker was messing around with this post before I put it up and tried to re-type the title. He called it “Annaversy lunch”. Ahhh.

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I have a terrible confession to make (shhhhh): I prayed that God would not send me and the Vicar to work in a church in Birmingham.

When he was still training, the Vicar had suggested that Birmingham would be a good place to go and work – lots of multi-cultural areas, close to many athletics meets (the Vicar was helping out with some ministry for Christians in Sport at the time) and well located between our families in London and Scotland.

But I knew better. We didn’t want our kids growing up with those nasal Birmingham accents. So the Lord was kind to us and sent us to the Black Country instead.

We love it here – it’s multicultural, close to athletics meets, well located between our families and people are friendly and wonderful. But today the Engineer said:

See the whistle I got from the boo-kit*.

The accents are here to stay. And I’m glad to be here. Who’d have thought it?

*The boo-kit is full of small plastic toys that the nursery children can choose as a prize for getting lots of ‘good tidying up’ and ‘good listening’ stickers at school.

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Christian music has a reputation for being a bit rubbish, and kids’ Christian music even more so. However, our kids are great fans of Colin Buchanan (the Australian not the bishop). His music is fun, biblical and we can bear to listen to it in the car more than once. [NB Colin is on tour in the UK this summer, but rather sadly not anywhere very near the West Midlands.]

The trouble with Colin is that we have all his stuff now. So I was really pleased to come across this great YouTube clip from Seeds Family Worship:

[HT:Justin Taylor]

I’ve just ordered all five of their cds, which are priced at $12.98 each,  but you get two for the price of one. Shipping’s not cheap ($16.95 for international airmail) but we’ve ended up buying ten cds (five to give away) for just over £5 each.

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My first post in this little series on the job description for a Vicar’s wife was about phone calls I answered early on in our time here in the Vicarage. The first comment was from rtpeat, who advised getting a separate phone line installed.

How can I help you?

How can I help you?

The thing about that is that the Vicar would then have to spend sermon prep time talking to people about local history and the shape of our church tower. I was glad to be able to do that for him last week, when a man rang trying to find a photograph of our church for a distant cousin in Canada. We had a discussion about the architecture of our church building and it turned out that it wasn’t our church he meant to track down after all…

I have also fielded two calls in the last few days from teachers (extra curricular and supply) who rang the Vicarage instead of our church school. It keeps me in the loop!

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The house that comes with my husband’s job is a typical Victorian vicarage. It has lots of space – high ceilings and even higher heating bills, you know the sort of thing.

When we first visited it, it was showing its age. It hadn’t been substantially decorated for about twenty years and the rooms looked tired. Many of them had not been used much of late, as the previous vicar was single.

The PCC kindly agreed to completely redecorate the house for us before we moved in, and I had to swiftly choose the colours as the team of decorators moved like locusts through the house. With the size of rooms we have, we don’t have to be afraid of colour.

Obviously, the Queen needed a pink room and she’d picked out a set of bedlinen and curtains in the Next catalogue. Her main motivation for choosing the design was a gorgeous sticker set that came with it.

We’d been moved in a few days when Icklesis came to visit. I’d been putting off the Queen’s request to apply the stickers. And a good thing too:

Looks lovely but definitely a team activity. Thanks Icklesis!

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Where we live most people have small gardens, often concreted over, or live in flats. And not many can afford to have play equipment in their garden. Our church was recently given a generous grant towards having a playground installed in our grounds. It will mainly be used by the young children who attend our toddler group.Tree

As part of the project, some trees in the churchyard had to be trimmed back. As I came back from the school run yesterday, the tree surgeons were hard at work. And they were shredding lots of the wood. We have wood burning stoves in the vicarage and we’d been promised the logs. So I went to check that they weren’t chipping all the lovely holly wood. They assured me they weren’t but then started asking about which other trees needed pruning. This was definitely outside my field of knowledge.

The Vicar was out at a prayer meeting, so it was back to the vicarage to “phone a friend”. I got it right first time by calling the churchwarden who then came over to talk trees whilst I made tea for the workers.

The logs came over our wall later on. And the Vicar spent a lovely hour after tea chopping and splitting them with some local teenagers who thought they’d come over to use our trampoline.

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I’ve been thinking a lot this Easter about how the resurrection of Jesus shows that God really can turn hopeless situations around. This clip gives you  an idea of how hopeless…

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Well, I have rather failed in my spiritual discipline of blogging The Cross Centered Life this Lent. I’m about half way through reading though and am going to go and snuggle in front of the fire and finish it just now.

Despite not blogging, I have been chewing over what I’ve learnt from the book. I think I’ve been encouraged to direct my thoughts to the cross more – to the suffering of Jesus and the sovereignty of God. This has really helped me as I’ve thought about people I love who are in difficult situations. I always feel that I should be able to do something, but I know I need to trust more in God’s power and control.


If you are wanting to think more about C J Mahaney’s book, the Vicar has put all his course materials up on his blog.

Happy Easter to all my readers. I’m praying that I will be more cross centred in my life this coming year. And you too.

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