Thursday, 3 May 2012

A Moment of Parenting Genius

I haven't often posted about parenting on here. Perhaps that's because parenting the Three Sisters is much, much, harder than maintaining faith in God and a regular prayer life. But today I have to post, because a moment of parenting genius paid off. Perhaps my ONLY moment of parenting genius. Lightbulb!

Since we went to Spring Harvest over Easter (another thing I didn't blog about yet), and experienced a family holiday in a Christian setting where we were more than a little disappointed by the accommodation but had a whale of a time anyway, Rebecca has had a fear of water. I have no idea whether this was due to her being disappointed by the lack of means to have a bath - she ran screaming from the shower cubicle on Night 2, even though she has always loved that kind of thing - or whether her yelling jumping in the waves on the beach meant she was not having fun, even though it really sounded like it!

Bubble Rain by Steve Jurvetson

But packing up the party bags to give out at SecondSister's 6th birthday party (which is admittedly over a week away, but I like to do things in advance) I realised that bubbles may be the answer. Not just bubbles in the bath, but bubbles blown from a plastic container - bubbles to pop! Now, I have often grumbled about these bubbles. When the kids are little, the bubble mixture gets spilled, and you have to help blow, which is not fun for Mummy. When they get older, the bubble mixture gets spilled and/or thrown by a pesky sister or two, which is not fun for Mummy. But bubbles in the bath - bubbles to watch, laugh at, and pop; bubbles to grab at and be promised after a body wash, a hair drenching, a shampoo; bubbles to be blown into the water so a little tyke who just simply WILL NOT SIT DOWN in the bath at least obligingly bends over to pop with her fingers so her nappy area can be a little cleaner this week.

Bubbles! Parenting inspiration! Bubbles!

Thank you, God :-)

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Wrapping it up

I haven't been blogging much recently. Other responsibilities, illness and life in general just seem to take I spend a lot of time journalling my pastoral ministry which includes encounters I need to keep confidential. I am not planning to stop blogging, as some things I just need to put out there.

BUT, in a way, the blog accompanied me stepping out into 'official' ministry, it went alongside the theological training which comes to an end this month. THIS MONTH! This is not to say I won't always be learning how to deal pastorally with people, or cease theological enquiry, as these things are just a part of me now. But my formal teaching by our Diocese, which started back in 2009 (before ThirdSister arrived, who is now almost 2!) is going to wrap up soon. And I am ready for a short break from the intensive weekly study nights.

In a way I'll be bereft, because this three-year continuity has been the longest I have studied something since the last time I studied something (which was the social anthropology of mobile technology, for my PhD, if anyone is interested....) But at the same time, as I mentioned above, the cessation of formal teaching doesn't mean the learning is ended, and in fact, I will be officially 'commissioned' as a lay minister in the Church of England in late summer/early Autumn which not only starts a new chapter, but necessitates ongoing learning and reflecting from the existing and new work I take on in and around church.

It's possible that the summer I envisage I'm going to have, with no weekly study nights, no dropping FirstSister and SecondSister off at school and having to pick up, taking in free museums and art galleries and possibly potty training ThirdSister, may not pan out the way I envisage. At the start of our 6-week chunk of school free time we will stay in a Holiday House with our friends (an annual thing - we are now up to 12 adults and 15 children) but then there is little planned other than a day trip or two to the seaside. It will be a rest from routine and study and my blogging may drop off. (or, it may pick up.)

AS the other thing that is continuing is the development of my enquiry into ordination as a priest in the Church of England. This was always there before I started the lay ministry course, which has confirmed my pastoral strengths but also been an affirmation of God's calling to possible ordination. So there will be more reading, thinking and reflection in this area as well as my regular Bible Study and prayer time. Perhaps I really will take the summer 'off' (although it's impossible to do this, as I'll always dip into the life of a saint or two on my Kindle!) and allow things to recharge...I often find this is when I can make inspired theological leaps, while I'm somewhat inattentive to study but my channel to God is fully receptive on a non-academic and more emotional level. And I know that while having this idyllic image of 'hanging out with the children', 'just' being a mother (which is what I am first and foremost anyway) is somewhat foolish - especially with the potty training! - a little break is right at this time. And, as ever, the rest is in God's hands. So, if you don't hear from me, you know why.

And now it's time to play with ThirdSister before my grocery delivery arrives :-)