not much has happened

Dear Bloggists, sorry that it has been a while since my last bloggage. Not much has happened in the intervening time…

We have been on holiday to Sweden, meeting up with lots of Sally’s friends (and me making new friends). So I have seen lots of lakes, lots of words that in Swedish are normal but in English are funny (such as the delicious chocolate sweet in this photo).

I have seen castles and visited the Royal Palace at Drottningholm (in my mind a bit like Windsor Palace for the Queen in the UK as it’s a bit out of Stockholm). I have walked in a national park and heard some interesting noises that may or may not have been an elk or a wild boar.

I have discovered a new special concept: fika. This is stopping for tea / coffee and a cake, and can be at any time. Indeed as I write this bloggage I am also enjoying fika with a cup of coffee and the last of the Swedish cinnamon buns we brought back.

I have performed some magic for some of our Swedish friends, and also for an 8 year-old daughter of the friend of one of our Swedish friends on her birthday. It’s quite a challenge performing illusions when you don’t share a language, but it seemed to go well. I think an open mouth and wide eyes means the same thing for audiences in most languages!

And I have performed magic with a message at Heart for Harlow’s town centre service (not long after two women performed songs from Disney’s Frozen, complete with costumes.

I have had the date confirmed for my interview to join the Magic Circle. If I get through the interview I will then have an examination (audition) to perform later on.

We have been welcomed into Membership of our local church, South Woodham Evangelical Church.

Oh yes, and my friend Richard Jones only went and won Britain’s Got Talent! Well done Richard! You can see the two of us performing together last year here at the end of a show when we hired out a local village hall. I guess his days of performing in village halls may be over!

So not much has happened.

It is easy to get caught up and carried away with events, especially when they are either really positive or really negative, and forget that God wants us to involve him in these things too. When it’s good we sometimes forget to be grateful to him. When it’s bad we sometimes forget to call out to him (unless it’s to blame him).

I have written before about having an attitude of gratitude, and I am so grateful for all of the above experiences.

I am grateful that when things are not so good I know that I do not have to face those things alone. I know that He is with me when I walk through the darkest valley and I am grateful that nothing can separate me from his love.

I guess I am even grateful for the ability to be grateful. And I am also grateful that I have someone to be grateful to. If you don’t have a relationship with God, who are you able to be grateful to?

Today why not try listing things for which you are grateful, and be grateful to the One who gave you the ability to be grateful?

Be blessed, be a blessing

Counting our blessings again

Once again this year Christian Aid are releasing Count Your Blessings for Lent. Baptist Christians don’t tend to make as much of Lent as other churches, but I thoroughly recommend you take part in this if you can*.

The idea is that each day during Lent we are encouraged to consider our position of privilege in the wealthy West and make a small donation or pray a prayer that can be used to help alleviate poverty and suffering in the poorer parts of the world through Christian Aid. I have found it a very helpful balance in my life to do this.

It is all to easy for us to become relaxed and comfortable with our standard of living. We don’t consider ourselves to be wealthy. Well let me tell you that I KNOW you are wealthy. How? You are reading this blog. You have access to the internet. In Mali only 0.2% of the population have access to the internet.

How will that knowledge change the way you view yourself? How does it change the way you view the world? When you give thanks to God for your circumstances do you do so glibly or do you accept the responsibility that they bring with them?

Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. Count Your Blessings 2012 starts on 27th Feb. It’s not to late to get involved!

Be blessed, be a blessing.

*Leaflets will be available from our church on Sunday, or you can download it from here (an android phone app is also available).