Saturday, 11 September 2010

As it Comes

A day in my life: Saturday 11th September

Prayers at Midnight

Saturday began before I'd even gone to bed. I had two people in mind that I felt compelled to pray for, so I sat up in bed and prayed for several minutes. It was a really heartfelt prayer, but towards the end my head began to droop, and I realised it was time to reach a closure and go to sleep, which I did.

A Positive Start

I woke up about seven hours later to the sound of someone moving around in the kitchen. I am currently sleeping on the sofa at one end of my parents' living room, and have slept surprisingly well considering this. It's not the most comfortable of beds/bedrooms, and normally my first few nights in a new environment are restless. Thankfully, this time, they haven't been.

I tumbled out of bed to discover, as I had suspected, that the intruder was my dad, and he was kindly making a cup of tea. We had arranged to go out to Tesco together as soon as I was up, as I needed to get some passport photos done (for work purposes). However, dad told me that I had a choice. I could either go to Tesco with him later on, or I could go up to town with him and mum, where I was bound to find a photo booth. So I went for the latter option, as town is always preferable to horrible old Tesco!

I returned to 'bed' and did my Bible reading for the day (I find it much easier to concentrate if I do it first thing, rather than last as I was doing previously). Breakfast didn't require much preparation. I had a banana, two small oranges/nectarines/satsumas (I can never tell the difference) in a bowl, and a cup of tea. I started my day with two portions of fruit, and surfed the net while I ate. Midway through my youngest brother, Dave, greeted me from the top of the stairs (the computer is at the bottom, on a desk in the hallway).

'What are you doing up this early?' I asked.

'Why? How early is it?'

'It's only just gone 8.'

Mum must have asked him the same thing as shortly afterwards I overheard him say to dad:

'So, are you going to ask me why I'm up this early, too?'

I then dressed and cleaned my teeth, so that I was all ready for the trip to town. I know my parents like to go very early, before it gets busy. They loathe shopping trips even more than I do. I glanced out of the window before we left, and the weather looked uncertain. Please let the sun come out, I prayed silently.

The trip was fairly painless though. We were in town for less than an hour. I got my passport photographs done first of all, as there was a photo booth in the post office (not far from where we had parked). Dad waited for me, while mum continued her 'mission', arranging to meet us in the library. We found her in the children's library. Her 'mission' was to find some books on farming to use with her class at school, but when we arrived she hadn't had all that much success. With the three of us combing the shelves, we managed to find a good supply of reading material. Our third and final stop was Marks and Spencers where mum bought grandma a supply of the tins she likes, as well as a card and present for my cousin. We got home at 10.30am. It had been a very promising start to the day.

'He bled all over my bed!'
We had coffee when we returned home (well, my parents had coffee, and my brothers and I had tea). I found Dave stretched out on my 'bed' playing on his Nintendo DS. He had deglected to put on socks and it was then that I noticed the welt on his big toe.

'What's that?' I queried.

'I don't know.' He hadn't even noticed it.

'It's bleeding! I hope you haven't got blood on my duvet!'

My keen eyes took in the small splodge of blood on the covers.

'Better get those covers in the wash before they stain,' mum said, when I had alerted her attention.

September Sunshine

I did just that - Dave cleared the way. He may only have had a blister, but he had left a trail of blood through the house. I returned to my now vacated 'bed' and, in the mood to meditate on scriptures, I opened my Bible to 1 Timothy and read the first chapter. I spent some time coping out various verses that jumped out at me into my prayer journal. I was particularly struck by 1 Timothy 1.18-19: '...fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience'. I was in a very reflective mood, so I turned my attention to Know and Tell the Gospel by John Chapman, a book I've been reading for my 'quiet time'.

By now the sun had come out, so I left the comfort of my 'bed' for the garden bench. I have spent many happy summers reading on that bench. The neighbour's cat was curled up, conspicuously, on the table at the bottom of the garden. Charlie looked so relaxed that I couldn't resist taken his picture!

I came back inside just before 12, thisty for a refreshing glass of orange juice. Dad had gone out to do the Tesco shop (poor old chap), and I was planning to make a lemon drizzle cake, following the recipe Golden Girl's sister wrote out for me, when he returned with my ingredients. We had, however, forgotten to put them on the list and when I rang dad I only got through to his voicemail. Thankfully, he remembered the castor sugar, and knew that there were one or two things more so he rang me back.

At 12.30 I made lunch for mum and me - beans on toast. Dad returned from Tesco with two pummets of strawberries (aside many other things) so I finished lunch off with a bowlful, and one of my favourite granola bars.

'Tension is a Passing Note'

For reasons that I don't wish to explain here, I felt slightly tense during the afternoon. The time I had spent in prayer and reflection really set me up, and the lemon drizzle cake was a good distraction. I concentrated hard on the new recipe, and was pleased with the result. While I baked, I listened to 'Divine Discontent', an album by my favourite band, Sixpence None the Richer ('Tension is a Passing Note' is one of the tracks on the album).

While the cake was baking, I did the washing up (there was quite a lot by that stage - the breakfast things, the lunch things, and what I'd used to make the lemon drizzle cake). When I had finished I surfed the net for a few minutes until the cake was ready. The drizzle took hardly any time at all. I mixed the juice of one lemon with castor sugar, and then poured it over the still hot cake.

Mum and I planned to visit my grandparents later in the afternoon, but she still had a few preparations to the coming week at school so I returned to my book for a while. I overheard her talking to dad about making preparations for the evening meal (my favourite, beef stew). I offered to chop the veg so that it was all ready, and so, armed with another Sixpence None the Richer album ('Fatherless and the Widow'), I returned to the kitchen. It didn't take me long to chop and peel 3 carrots, 3 parsnips, a green pepper, and a panful of potatoes, and by that point mum was ready to go out. I just had time to make dad (who was still working hard) a cup of tea and cut him a slice of lemon drizzle cake, for which he was very grateful.

'Old and grey and full of sleep'

Today my grandad was old and grey and full of sleep (Yeats). He is in the latter stages of dementia now, but seems content to sit quietly in his armchair with a blanket and soft toy, intended for a newborn - he likes the different textures. His head drooped, but when I moved into his line of sight, he gazed at me for a few long seconds, his chocolate brown eyes taking in my appearance. He didn't say anything, but didn't seem displeased to see me. I chatted to him amiably, unperturbed by his silence, even when his head drooped again.

Grandma was delighted to see me. She drew me into a warm embrace the moment we arrived, and said:

'How lovely to see you!'

She has, just recently, celebrated her 84th birthday, and the lemon drizzle cake was intended to mark the occasion. We all sampled a slice with our cup of tea, even grandad. He seemed to enjoy it. He is not always obliging when it comes to food, and will sometimes shut his mouth tightly when grandma feeds him. He made encouraging 'Mmm' sounds though. Grandma and mum were both highly complimentary, and both had a second piece.

We were there for just over an hour, and might have stayed longer, but Dave needed a lift to a friend's birthday celebrations. When we returned home, my dad had started making the stew, and while he dropped Dave off mum took over. I went on the computer and, aware oft he task ahead of me, began this blog post. I went on instant messenger for the first time in a while, and had a lovely chat with Darling Girl, who I will be seeing on Tuesday.

Dinner was ready between 8 and 9. I ate with my family in the living room, where they were watching X-Factor. The stew was absolutely delicious! There wasn't that much washing up so, having done two lots today (one at home, one at grandma's), and helped with the dinner preparations, I didn't feel too guilty about leaving it. I returned to the computer, and here I am now, at the end of the day. But it isn't over yet...

What Next?

I can more or less foresee the next two hours. Spud is due to ring anytime now, and so I will speak to him for an hour. I will then crawl into bed, after finishing the day with a chapter of the Bible and prayer. I have taken the day as it's come, and it has been a very good day indeed. That is the attitude I've tried to take each day, but today is the first day that this practice has really proved to be effective.

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