Friday, 15 July 2016
Several weeks ago our dishwasher died. Full of greasy bacon pans and plates from a Saturday morning men's prayer breakfast, it just gave up. I can understand this. I would've given up too. My heart sank. Yet another expense to pay out. It hadn't even occurred to me that washing up longer term might be an option.
I spent the whole weekend washing up. This made me feel very cross. I had now become the dishwasher.
So, I devised a rota. Everyone is on the rota at least twice - once for washing and once for drying. And, guess what? We've actually started to quite like this arrangement.
Here's what we've learnt:
1. As the boys have grown older, they have started to slope off after mealtimes and we don't see them. If they're on the washing up rota, they have to hang around even longer than the meal which makes family time last longer.
2. Washing and drying up together gives us chance to chat. Time together is becoming more rare now they want to be with their mates instead of us boring and embarrassing parents, but this time working together gives a precious opportunity for one to one talking. Oh the revelations we've discovered in the last few weeks....!
3. Drying up whilst a particular child is washing gives us an excellent (and breath-holdingly uncomfortable) chance to learn patience as they leave the hot water running and squeeze half the bottle of washing up liquid into one plate.
4. Our boys had no idea how to wash up. Seriously. I was shocked. They can do their own laundry, clean toilets, empty bins, cook meals and hoover but they couldn't wash up! It was a sharp learning curve.
5. My kitchen actually looks tidier. Instead of everything piling up ready for the dishwasher, it's washed, dried and put away and it leaves the kitchen clean.
6. It doesn't take as long as I expected. Ten minutes max (unless Max is washing up, and then it's slightly longer due to the extra time added when he is surprised each time he is told he has to wash everything and 'no, you haven't finished yet'.).
7. Glasses are really quite breakable in the slippery soaped-up but enthusiastic hands of an eight year old.
8. Tea-towel whip fights can leave quite nasty marks. The wetter the tea-towel, the redder the mark. Bet you didn't know that.
And so, we might not actually go back to having a dishwasher. Rather than being another expense to pay, we've actually gained masses.
Will we ever have a dishwasher again? Ask me in another few months... the novelty may have worn off and we may have no glasses left...
Monday, 11 July 2016
Since joining some social media sites, I have had a growing horror in my insides at the photos that are posted online and over the last few weeks this has developed into a letter to not only my incredible and beautiful teenage friends but to a whole generation who holds no value for purity and who are being failed by adults who have not explained there is always an option to say 'no'.
So, here's the letter:
To My Teenage Friends,
Imagine the scene.
You have a shiny new phone – the latest upgrade. It’s your constant communication tool with friends and family. There is no other way to be contacted and all your important information is stored in your phone. Not to mention all your music. It’s precious, so you treat it with care. If you were to go to the London underground where there are big signs everywhere saying ‘Pick pockets in operation’ you would keep your phone safe. You would not let a corner of your phone peek out of your bag, just to tempt the thieves. You wouldn’t flash it around so they know you’ve got it. Of course you wouldn’t!
Your virginity and purity is the same. Except that phones are replaceable and your virginity is not. Once it’s gone, it is gone forever. There are thieves in operation all around the world – in our nation and other nations. Don’t throw this away when, for other women it is being violently stolen day after day and sometimes hour after hour.
How do we know it is so precious? Sit in a room with one of these women, as I have, and hear her sobbing as she speaks of her pain at this precious, most intimate part of her being stolen. If it was easy to throw away, like an old crisp packet at the bottom of our handbags, then there would be no heartache. There would be no need to be afraid of men. There would be no need to feel anxious about going out of the house in case it happens again. You would not feel like a captive to your own past. Your life would not be affected in any way by throwing away an old, useless object.
This is to be prized. This is to be kept sacred. This is to be cherished and treasured, not wasted in the pursuit of ‘fitting in’ or wanting to grow up.
The thieves are prowling, ready to steal your purity. Don’t give them a sneak peek by posting naked selfies online. Don’t give yourself away just for a laugh. Don’t seek value in what others say about you. You are worth more than that. The women who’ve had their purity stolen know all about worth. They feel worthless now that it’s been taken. You can say no, they couldn’t. You have a choice, they didn’t.
Value yourself. Value your virginity. Keep it safe as your treasure until it's the right time to give away to someone who adores you for the incredible person you are. Stop squandering yourself. You are loved. Your life has value. You are beautiful and courageous and clever. There is more to you than pouting selfies. There is more, so much more, to your life. You are free to choose.
Say no to squandering.
Say yes to freedom.