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Lyndsay....an occasional housewife and full time mother. Ours is a life of seaside picnics,cooking & crafts.

Monday, 18 February 2013

Tantrums with God

My son, Rowan,  is firmly routed in the toddler stage. Life for him seems to be strong emotion after strong emotion. From excitement to confusion, contentment to rage. From the angst of a cup that wont fit, to the  joy of watching a small car take a perilous tumble down a flight of stairs. For us as parents, the emotions are strong too. The intensity of love can be staggering, the heartache can be crippling. Our job is evolving- he feeds himself, he walks (runs), he is beginning to say what he wants (mama....car). But whereas his sisters were manageable, predictable, contented...our little bear is putting all our parenting skills to the test. The ways that worked in the past, just dont appear to be working for us. Its a real challenge as we seek to find that balance between discipline and love.

Its on days like today, as I tell this great hulk of testosterone for the 12th time, not to bite me,that I ask myself how God must feel when he looks on and sees us struggling with the same problems, time after time. The bible shows God frequently as the concerned mother, the giver of life. Hosea 11:3-4 sees God lamenting:

It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, 
   taking them by the arms;
but they did not realize 
  it was I who healed them.
 I led them with cords of human kindness,
    with ties of love.
To them I was like one who lifts  a little child to the cheek,
   and I bent down to feed them.

What must it have been like to keep on teaching the Israelites the same lessons time after time? It should be simple... Listen to me, trust me, stop damaging yourselves. Is it any wonder we see such a range of emotion from God.  Sometimes he responds with such rage that it is shocking. I felt a touch of that myself this morning as rowan gave his sister a black eye. What must it be like for god to see us hurting each other? Can we honestly say we have loved our brothers and our sisters?

Ive heard people refer to baby christians...the idea that the christian journey is one of growth;God treats us very gently in the beginning, only to guide us into a more mature place of understanding when we are fully grown. Well I dont know that I entirely agree....at least, in almost 10 years of walking with him, I'm still stumbling around in the wilderness. Maybe its just me, or maybe it takes an eternity to fully get it right. As Christians, we know how to live well, we have the conviction of the holy spirit,but part of us remains a tantruming toddler, determined to push the barriers, to take control. Like my young son taking out his frustrations on himself,we are all banging our heads against the floor in one way or another.

The bible is the story of gods relationship with humanity. We see how he birthed the universe, how he created people in his image, how he loved and cherished his family. And how, through Jesus that love is open to all. Rather than baby believers growing into mature christians, lets look to developing the church from adolescence into adulthood. For we know we are preparing ourselves to be his bride. Jesus sees the heart of a person.  He knows his children, and in his mercy he parents us all in a very unique and personal way. Valuing our individuality, loving us in our complexities, never failing to lavish grace upon us.

So thats my prayer for the church, that we would accept gods  inclusive parenting, rather than deciding for ourselves who is welcome in his family. And for myself, I pray that I Would see my little adventurer with the eyes of our mother god. That I wouldnt lose patience with him in his exploration of who he is and how he fits into this world. For as much as I grow weary with the terrible twos, God, incredibly, never grows tired of us.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

A Tree in the Garden...

Hello world...its been FAR too long...but I have been a little busy! I notice with a smile that my last blog entry was 3rd November. Well,my husband will not thank me for pointing this out,but just two days after I last posted, on Bonfire Night,we made a baby!  And so,the life of our little one began...

 I had been feeling for a while that God was preparing me for a son. I tried to put it out of my mind as we didn't really feel able to have another child. My previous births had been difficult,our house only had two bedrooms,our car was too small and I was planning on going back to work. But still the feeling was there. It wasn't that we felt something was missing and we certainly weren't longing for a boy,but I just had this sense that there was going to be a son. It actually started to drive me to distraction as I couldn't fathom what I was supposed to do about it. We had a picture on the stairs of my husband when he was toddler,and in the end I had to take it down as it kept reminding me of this child I would never have! 

And yet,it seems that a way was being made clear for us. By November, our car was behaving strangely,we kept throwing money at it,but it seemed determined to die. Terrible timing,but incredibly the money for a new (and bigger) car was provided. Similarly,I found that when I looked into going back to work,every door seemed closed to me. By the time our builder neighbour offered to convert our house for £200,we started to think maybe we should be open to the idea of baby #3! And God certainly acted quickly! 

I had a straightforward pregnancy,but theres no denying it was a long,hard slog. I had far more sickness this time and found it hard to have the energy for entertaining the children. I had a lot of anxiety about the birth-having had an emergency cesarean with Iris,I was desperate to avoid this happening again. So after meeting with the consultant we agreed that I would try and have a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean). I felt good about the decision-I had already had Poppy 'naturally',the growth scan showed the baby would only be about 8lb 3oz,fluid levels were normal,position seemed fine. Plus the midwife who had been with me for Iris's birth was now,quite randomly,my community midwife-surely a good omen! 

I spent a lot of time praying about the delivery and trying to put to rest all the residual feelings about the previous births. Poppy's delivery was an agonising three day epic where I was so smacked out on pethidine,I was hallucinating! Iris's was a near perfect,manageable water birth that merged into a very traumatic c-section where they almost had to put me to sleep due to a failed spinal block. I felt it was time for a good one. I wasn't worried too much about the pain,but I needed this baby to come out the right way,and spare us all the long recovery of a c-section. In fact,the midwife was so certain that I would manage a vaginal birth,she put my chances at 95%. My ratio of days in labour to babies being 6:2,I was not so sure,but I felt no prompting to go for an elective cesarean,so VBAC it was.

Ok...*deep breath*....lets get down to it....

My due date was 27th July,but the others had been late so I expected this one would be too. I had been booked for induction on friday 5th August but had several pokes and prods by the midwife to try and get things moving during that week. On the sunday evening (4 days overdue) I went to bed early,thinking that maybe something was about to happen. We had been praying it would come on the monday as our childcare was sorted out and also my midwife was on call (I could see in my mind,her delivering the baby!). 

I woke up at 2am with contractions,but knowing how long that stage can last,I ignored them until I really couldn't sleep through them. There was no point waking anyone so I sat in the bath and hoped it was all happening. By 6am I was starting to think I needed to call someone-they had told me due to the previous section I should be monitored as soon as contractions were regular,and by this point they were 2-3 minutes apart! So we called our friends,said goodbye to the girls and off we went to hospital. I had a bad feeling that I wasn't in enough pain for it to be real labour,but they hospital had been pretty clear that I should go in. After a hours monitoring they examined me and said I was only 1cm dilated :o( We went sent off 'for a walk' so we trawled the retail park in the rain. I managed my egg mcmuffin inbetween contractions! It wasn't easy feigning interest in stationary at staples,but we tried! 

When we went back to the hospital,nothing had changed. They gave me the choice of staying on the ward with morphine to make me sleep,or going home. We decided to go home. It was pretty disheartening going back to our children without the baby,but we didn't have much choice. By this point I knew I was in for another long one. Contractions continued to be regular for the whole of monday and tuesday,but I knew there was no point going in until I was in so much pain that I couldn't bare it. Finally,on wednesday morning I decided enough was enough and I would like to take them up on their offer of drugs. I hadnt been able to sleep,and no body seemed to be suggesting anything other than riding it out until Fridays induction!

Once at the hospital they discovered I was 3cm so officially I was in labour and they could break my waters. They had meconium in,so the baby was monitored closely. They were loosing the trace of the baby's heartbeat so kept trying to clip its head,but it never worked. We tried to speed things along with a syntocinon drip,which I knew to be painful so I had diamorpine in the first instance,and then,still desperate for sleep,an epidural. Its a very odd sensation to lie staring at the epidural stand with its display counting down the minutes until you can next press the button for a top up! I was still feeling positive by this point,and although uncomfortable lying on my back,I was glad of the pain relief. I kept asking if something was wrong with the epidural as I could still feel pain,but the midwife said it was fine so I just had gas and air and kept quiet about it.

I don't know at what point we realised things were going slowly,once we had entered into that childbirth vortex,it was impossible to keep track. I remember very little actually...being scanned on a laptop,a stream of doctors,the radio playing,pain au chocolates...I think the slowness wasn't much of a concern until the baby's heart rate seemed to be dropping. At first the midwife seemed to think it was a sign that I would soon need to push,but she seemed to change her mind and the first mumblings of a c-section began. Knowing how scared I was of that happening,they set a time limit of two hours,by which I needed to have progressed to 8 cms. I was 7! So they scratched the baby's head to make sure there was no sign of distress(!) and said 'two more hours'. After an hour,they finally acknowledged what I had been saying since 4cm...the epidural had come out! So they switched off the synto while they re-did it. This was a major low point for me. I had been left feeling very disturbed by the prep for the previous section,as above all else I wanted to avoid the panic of being anaesthetised while I was having such close contractions. I started to lose hope that this was going to work out well.

Once the epidural was back in we only had an hour left of synto before the next assessment. It started to look less and less likely that my body was actually going to do what it needed to do...and the goal post had moved...I needed to be 9cm. The babies heartbeat continued to dip at the peak of the contractions. It was at this point when I started to prepare myself. For some reason this baby couldn't get out on its own. The consultant came in-a big,smiley Egyptian with golden skin. He told me I was at 8cm and I could have two hours,but that would be it,as he felt for the baby's safety,this labour couldn't go on much longer.

And so,16 hours after my waters were broken and (predictably) some 3 days after the first contraction,I went into theatre for a cesarean. Much as I enjoy the sight of my husband in scrubs,this was a massive disappointment. The team were lovely,but being awake for surgery is such a traumatic experience,particularly under epidural rather than spinal block. I was very aware of what was being done,and very aware of their tense faces as they tried to get the baby out. After what seemed like an age,Philip was handed a huge bundle in a towel and we were told "congratulations,its a BOY!" 

Rowan Tudor Joseph Eley
2.36am 04/08/11
9lb 9oz

It has taken me a long time to process all that went on with Rowan's delivery. Four days on a noisy hospital ward only added to my anxiety and its only been since coming home that I've been able to let go of all the trauma. For a while I was angry with God. I couldn't understand why he would let me go through all those days of labour for nothing. Why not tell me to have the elective section at 39 weeks? Why not intervene during my labour? Why let me suffer the same fate twice? Most of all,why give me the false hope? 

Since I've been home I've come to terms with what happened. I can see that birth is under a curse,it isn't how God planned it to be. Having had three babies,its pretty obvious to me that it is far from the natural,blessed experience the magazines will have you believe. Sure,some women manage to breeze through it,but they are the lucky few. Most of us are damaged to some extent by the process,and some of us,in another time or place,would probably die from it...three times over in my case! And yet,fear is pointless and each woman must take charge of her own experience,however gruesome it may be,and get on with enjoying the baby at the end of it.
Ultimately, when I questioned God about why he had forsaken me,the answer was to look back at what had happened. Once Rowan was out I heard them talking about a knot in his umbilical cord. The midwife said "that's why" but I didn't really take it in at the time. I've since  looked into it and found that Rowan is actually a pretty lucky little chap. The knot had  probably been there since the first trimester. He was a very active baby and it would have occurred while he was turning and doing somersaults. They tend not to cause a problem until delivery when contractions can make them tighten and reduce the oxygen supply to the baby.  Some babies are not so fortunate as to make it to labour,and are still born,others struggle in the birth canal and are born brain damaged. Most survive with no problems,but given how long my labour was taking (and how big he was)I have to wonder how much longer he would have managed. Clearly,as much as it meant my suffering,the best thing for Rowan was for him to get out quickly and safely. 

So I no longer feel like the child who asked their father for an egg and got a snake. (I feel like I wanted poached but I got boiled!) When I look back over the last 10 months,I can see how we have all been taken care of along the way,and none more so than little Rowan,who got himself in a pickle when he was tiny and needed a whole lot of divine protection to make it into this world. Not that he knows anything of the fuss he has caused,our little man is one chilled out and contented fellow,very welcome and very loved by his grateful family.

Our family is complete!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Lemon Heaven & Manic Street Preachers

One of the great things about living in Torbay is that,when you think youve seen it all,you havnt. There is always some undiscovered gem of a place just waiting for you to visit. With this in mind,we set off to Brixham. Just 5 miles down the road,we tend to overlook Brixham and have often thought it to be just a fishing town with a few colourful houses. However we were surprised to find that if one takes a detour,there are a number of really lovely beaches on the outskirts of town.

We found one such place where a steep descent was rewarded by a pretty good latte in the windswept beach cafe. The name of the place escapes me now,but it had the added attraction of local seals,one of which appeared in cameo,only to resubmerge once the camera was out! Philip took each girl in turn for an explore round the headland while I chatted to some children who were entertaining the cafe owners soppy dog!

And so on we went to Brixham itself. I often find it to be a strange old place. Theres something distinctly un glamorous about it,despite its obvious charm. Maybe its the smell of the fish...or the mock up of the Golden Hind,I dont know. But theres no way Im ever paying £3 to go on a stationary pirate ship,thats for sure! Soon lunchtime was upon us,and as tempting as it was to sit on a bench with fish & chips,we decided on a cafe called Lemon Heaven (on the recommendation of an old lady who told us of its suitability for kids) Lemon Heaven must have the most varried menu in Torbay. Seriously...if you are a ceoliac,vegan with a nut allergy,this is the place for you.
 Good value too-Poppy had a babychino with marshmallows for 65p!

The mysterious old lady was right about the child friendliness of the place. We had no problems with high chairs or space,there was a little collection of toys and books and the menu was really good. The girls had little pitta bread dippers with a side of fruit and a lunchbox to share-beats me why they always choose the thing in the cardboard box,ever hopeful of a free toy perhaps! I had a nut roast,purely because its something I can never be bothered to make at home. I was dissapointed though as it was really dry. As dry as Ghandi's flip flop,one might say... So I looked on in envy at Philips Goats cheese salad; which delivered far more than the menu suggested.

All in all,Lemon Heaven is a fabulous cafe. There is an obvious desire on the part of the management to run the business ethically and there are lots of community notices around. There are also lots of photographs of  Buddhist monks and newspaper cuttings about the Dalai Lama to pass the time en route to the toilet. We couldnt help but laugh at the stack of notices about switching off lights,minding heads,please ask for this and that. Ironically,the one thing we needed notification about (the lack of facility to pay with debit card??!!) was the one thing they decided not to advertise! I found it impossible to complain in the presence of organic food,so poor Philip was sent out in pursuit of a cashpoint.

Whilst on his travels,he passed a street preacher who was busy belting out an obscure Biblical story to the passers by-Philip thought he was reading from the Gideon bible,but the content didnt sound too New Testament to me. I guess he put his own spin on it! We talked a bit about the frustrations we have with this kind of evangelism. The thing that bothers me is the harm that it can do. Who knows how many of the people who walked passed,had their spiritual journey hindered by the sight of this well meaning but essentially stupid approach? 

Its the same with the Jehovahs Witnesses,who recently graced my doorstep. I have no idea of the numbers of converts they recruit,but I doubt its in any way comparable with the amount of people who stiffen their resolve against the 'Church'. And how on earth are we to bring in His Kingdom when we have lunatics bellowing in the street and pious old ladies knocking on doors? They certainly werent satisfied with my credentials anyway-it seems an encounter with the living God is nothing when compared to the power of their 1970s 'kids- playing- with- lions- in- earthly-paradise' propoganda. But anyway,I digress....

The day was still young so we got back in the car and drove off to Berry Head. Now this place was a revelation! I cant believe we have been here two years and yet weve only just discovered it. A short walk from the carpark is the remains of a fort from a time that I cant recall. Poppy didnt seem too troubled by the cannons still on display so we sidespetted the cafe (for now!) and pushed on to the lighthouse- which Philip tells me is the both the tallest and the shortest lighthouse in the UK. Tallest in that it is the highest above sea level,shortest in that it is just short.

Quaint as it was,it seems the lighthouse was long since resigned to its diminutive stature- it pailed into insignificance next to the amazing panoramic views from Berry Head. I dont think Ive ever been so impressed with the sheer beauty of the sea. (Not since visiting the Gower Peninsular anyhow) From there we could see for miles. Philip loved spotting the cornish and dorset coast. I actually loved the vast stretches of nothingness,save perhaps the occasional miniture boat. Best of all though,if you look closely,you can see the light of Portland Bill,114 miles away! Its hard not to put your life into perspective when faced with such a sight,particularly for myself,born there 31 years ago. I guess you could say I've come a long way,well,114 miles at least..

Friday, 20 August 2010

Worship,Wasps & The Winking Prawn

Believe it or not,we actually had a sunny day fairly recently! I cant quite recall when,but it must have been one day last week. We were all very keen to get to the beach and so decided to make a day of it,and make the journey to Salcombe. We had only been there once before,and I recalled with some amount of residual stress,my attempts to breastfeed a wriggling baby while perched on a rock. Surely,this visit would have to be an improvement.

the sea monster
On the way there,Philip and I took the chance to have our first proper conversation since his return from camp. We talked about his work and how important he feels it is for young people not to get stuck in desiring the big emotional experiences of God. Worship is something we think about quite a lot,largely because we dont really feel a part of this 'worshipping generation' that is so much about about singing and often little else. But,more of that later...

When we arrived at South sands (or was it north??) the tide was as far in as it could be! Some determined Fathers had dug out trenches so that their wives could have small cresents of dry sand to sit in. Most however were happy to bide their time and were just glad to have bagged a spot on the popular beach. Philip and Iris managed to secure the last metre square while Poppy and I carried our things.

One of the benefits of having toddlers rather than babies,is that we no longer have to cart around half of mothercare with us wherever we go. Sometimes we get over confident however and set off on these trips without the necessaries. This was one of those times,and the missing ingredient was mine! Yes,we had remembered everyone swimming kit,apart from Mums! The water was freezing cold,so I wasnt too upset not to swim-but id have felt a lot happier in my vintage swimming costume (TU@ Sainsburys!) Philip didnt help matters by suggesting I wear his shorts under my top! I insisted this would make me feel ugly and androdgenous,to which he replied "But thats how I feel all the time!" I couldnt really argue with that kind of logic and so on they went-shudder!

Once the tide had retreated,the beach was really lovely. We played in the sand,paddled and climbed the rocks (Well,they did,I read a book!) Seamonsters made,our bellies were soon telling us that it was lunchtime. So we walked across to the only available eatery,The Winking Prawn. To be honest,I was keener on the the cafe than the beach,having eaten here before I remembered how fabulous it was. The views from the patio are amazing and though the menu is small,we had no trouble finding things we wanted. We ordered the warm goats cheese salad and a blue cheese and fig chutney baguette,plus two sides of really good chips. I was pleased to see that Philip had been tempted by the local ale,as by this point,a cold beer in the sunshine was just the ticket.
The only downside to The Winking Prawn (apart from the disconcerting name)was the huge population of wasps. Now, I think of myself as someone who has respect for most creatures (I even saved a slug from being decapitated today) but the wasp is really something else. Ever since Poppy was stung by one a few weeks ago,Ive had a policy of zero tolerance towards the hienous beasts. If they touch me,they die. If they so much as hover near my child,they die. Well I have never seen a place more inhabited by wasps! Such is the magnitude of the problem,that the staff had made rather quaint wasp traps from recycled bottles. Of course,the sight of  the little fellas floating around,does rather put you off your lunch,but it did mean that I managed to avoid murder.

 Heres a rather haunting image of my husband trying to trap one of the wasps in the trap. They were so determined not to fall in that it became rather disturbing viewing. Of course,the wasp doesnt have the sophisticated thought processes necessary to regret being tempted by the sweet goo,but I did find myself feeling a bit sorry for it as it tried desperatly to avoid falling foul of the same fate that had met his brothers. Gotta wonder at the point of them though,what was God thinking? Maybe theyre like fallen bees,they used to be creative and purposeful but now they spend their time causing pain. I wonder if anyone has done a philiosophical study of the wasp?

So...we put aside thoughts of genocide and trundled over to the beautifully kitsch ice cream van. Poppy deviated from her usual honeycombe and plumped for chocolate. Philip and I would not make such a mistake! Iris didnt seem to notice that she was sharing with me and proceeded to make an almighty mess all over herself. Just as well  it was time to go. In the car on the way home,there was little time to talk of worship,sung or otherwise. For our eldest proved herself to be firmly entrenched in Freud's anal phase..." Iris,say poo poo Iris" "Poo poo" "HAHAHAH! Iris said Poo poo!!!" "Iris can you say bum bum..." and on it went...all the way home!

Thursday, 12 August 2010


One more sleep til hubby gets home and my attention has turned to his welcome home meal. Being a vegetarian myself,the best he can hope for is a fatted enchilada,but I dont anticipate any complaints. The girls too are very excited to see him and Poppy was keen to make something for Daddy aswell. Weve long been admiring the blackberry patch on the walk to Paignton Zoo,typically we grab and run,but dessert in mind,we decided this morning to pluck in earnest...

and what a heist we managed! In fact I doubt there are any blackberries left-at least not any under 6' high! I really surprised myself with my tenacity and was amazed that noone beeped the strange woman scalling the banks of the Totnes Road. How liberating to claim our share of Gods bounty...and how exciting to make our very first flan!


Back at the ranch we welcomed our friends Miriam,Eli & Thea round to play. Miriam and I had a lovely Latte and a Pecan Danish. We talked a little about conformity,particularly in relation to children starting school and being exposed to ' the system'. I remembered how depressed I was to register my childrens' births,how desperately I wanted to bundle them up and run away and live in a caravan away from rules and regulations. It seemed so gut-wrenchingly poinant that the beautiful names we had given them would one day be branded on household bills or worse. We thought about our own inate rebellion and how much of it could be used by God.

It will come as no surprise that I have had my run ins with authority, perhaps all eldest children do. But I have been surprised to find that submission to God is not nearly as hard as submission to man. There has been no force in my Christian journey,no cynicism for my creator. Being a part of Christianity on the other hand is another matter and I rebel continuously against the culture of the church. I have had to ask myself why? Why,when I have the Christian 'ideal' (husband,kids,chance to stay home) do I care so much for those who do not? I am so insensed by homophobia within the church that it has become a burden to me and the only way I can understand it is to think that God wants to use my independent spirit to challenge those who have do harm to the Gay community.


I recently read an article by Anne Rice,the author of Interview with a Vampire,who publically disowned what she called 'quarellsome christianity'. On her facebook fan page she said this “For ten ...years, I've tried, I've failed. I'm an outsider. My conscience will allow nothing else.” Rice remains devoted to Christ but said she would longer be associated with Christians who are 'anti-gay, anti-feminist, anti-artificial birth control, anti-Democrat, anti-secular humanism, anti-science, and anti-life in the name of Christ'. Powerful stuff indeed!

 I wholeheartedly feel Rice's pain but what a pity she was not able to surround herself with like minded people. (I often joke that Im off to join the Lesbian Quakers when church gets too self righteous for comfort) Luckily for us in the UK,we are spared a lot of the hideous fundamentalism and conservatism that so depressed Rice. There will always be those who put legalism ahead of the gospel,but in the main,it is possible to be both liberal and Christian. The Bible in its deliberate obscurity,demands that we all study and contemplate and measure what we hear from other Christians against what we know of Gods nature and the example of Jesus in the Gospels. And here I will stop,before my inner rebel takes hold!

Instead I will close with the words of my own baptism- so,so encouraging when I feel,as I often do,that Im on my own in a great sea of injustice:
" Let us not grow weary in well-doing,for if we do not give up,in time we shall reap the harvest" (Galatians 6:9)

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Jam Tarts & Justice

Us Eley girls have been having a strange of time of it this week. Life sans husband doesnt suit me so well and the girls are definatly missing the rough and tumble playtimes with Dad. Luckily weve had Nanny around to help out and entertain. Weve had some highs (a ride on the vintage bus,picnic at the beach and a fab pampered chef party) but weve also had a big low that,try as I might, I cant seem to shake off.

Yesterday we were really looking forward to escaping the rain and hiding out in our favourite fish and chip shop- Scoffs of Paignton. Id long been singing the praises of this place since we first tried their admittedly yummy chips. And so we settled at a table,put Iris in the slighly doddery looking highchair and Nanny gave the order to the waitress while I took Poppy to the toilet.

The next thing we know Iris is slipping down and becoming trapped in the highchair! It took four of us to free her from the cold- war-esque contraption that was folding furthur in on itself. Horrible.

The ordeal continued when I 'approached the pass' to complain to the head chimp.  Most people hearing that a child had been hurt would have shown some concern,but no,this Jeremy Kyle reject launched into a full scale grunt fest in which I was told 'I have people like you in here every day' and 'If you cared that much for the baby,youd have noticed there werent any straps'. He clearly thought I was lying or exadurating,despite the shop full of witnesses.

So,what do you do....? Well...we went home and made some tarts!

Having never actually made tarts before,I was a little unsure but we still had some shortcrust pastry left from the pampered chef party so I thought Id give it a go. I have to say they were really rather good! There was none of that icky taste of a shop brought tart or that shiny glaze that has always put me off them. Even Poppy,with her ever growing list of unacceptable foods,managed to stuff down four! Or should that be scoff...??! 

As is often the case though,sugar was only a temporary solution. My rage continued;the destabilising effect of being without my husband only hightened the bad feelings,the sense of injustice. Should I have confronted him? Should I have just sat down and had a nice quiet lunch??! Would he have dared to speak to me like that if Id had the back up of my big, strong (allbeit slightly dippy!) man?

And what is the godly response....? As I stood in front of this hideous man and accused became accuser,I had a real sense of Gods presence-a feeling that He knew where the blame lay. This man had not only put my little one at risk,she also belongs to God-and vengence is His. No,it was right to speak up and Id have done it for anyone elses child.

So often we feel God in the peace,but when he comes in anger,the rage of a parent defending their child,its always an unsettling feeling. And yet its a feeling we should encourage. This world,beautiful as it is,is unjust. And until that day when He returns,and justice flows like a river,its up to us to fight for His children. Of course,once we allow our heavenly Father to step in,we must also step back-and eventually forgive. I'm not there yet,I can still see the image of my childs squashed face trapped between tray and chair leg,and were Jeremy Vine to call me and ask me to slag them off on his lunchtime show,I have to say Id do it! But I KNOW that the chip-fat chimp will pay, one way or another.  He is still shovelling chips,whereas we have starlight strawberry tarts!

Starlight Strawberry Tarts

250g ready made desert shortcrust pastry
strawberry jam
handful of sliced strawberries
sugar stars to sprinkle

Bake the case for 15 mins on 190 then fill and return to oven until strawberries are soft.
Leave to cool!

Friday, 6 August 2010

Rocket Cafe@Seabreeze- Torcross on Slapton Ley

After weeks of illness and trial,FINALLY we have a day together!  Given the rains,Slapton Ley probably wasnt the obvious choice but we had a hankering for a quaint cafe and a windswept stroll. The almost biblical weather added to the ambience on the ferry over the Dart and the littlies enjoyed a bit of duck spotting out of the window.

Slaptop Ley in itself has little to offer besides a row of holiday lets,the occasional eatery and of course the tragic wartime story that looms large even now. Hundreds of lives were lost in WW2 when a ship was sunk in a training excercise just off slapton sands. Infact,I think it was the most lives lost in any single incident during the war,800 or so if I remember rightly. A resurrected tank sits on the edge of the carpark in memory of the dead.

Anyways...on to happier things...The strangely named Rocket Cafe is a gem of place. Whitewashed and trimmed in french blue,it is every bit the seaside experience. We were greeted by a rather nervy fellow who ensured we had all necessary paraphenalia for the kiddies and informed us we were still elligible for the breakfast menu,welcome news indeed! We all made use of the books and games-there seemed to be some copies of the guardian going around,but alas they didnt filter through to us.

We settled upon two cooked breakfasts-one meat,one veggie-and a basket of croissants with apricot jam for the girls. I enjoyed my food,but still recovering from a nasty virus,I didnt have much of an appetite,so was happy to dish my fried potatoes and beans out to the girls. Philip tells me,the defining part of a really good full english is the sausage. And on this occasion,hurrah,the sausage was good!

I had a really good latte and Philip had tea. A waitress was soon over to clean up a gigantic spillage,which was just as well,considering how wet we all were from the rain. Rather charmingly,the food came out on slates and both girls were fascinated with the retro ketchup bottle! I on the other hand, enjoyed the knitted tea cosies and vintage vinyl tablecloths.

Conversations were mainly child led,as is the trend of late; or in appreciation of the food. We all agreed it was a fine place to eat and excellent value,given the overall experience was so good. The four of us ate for £20 and although there was mention of cake,it came to nothing,given the fullness of our bellies.

And so,we could find no reason to linger any longer,and it was back out into the rain,for that windswept stroll. Poppy busied herself building a slate home for her pony,while Iris shook handfulls of tiny pebbles. We all enjoyed Mr E's stone skimming efforts,but I felt a dismantling of the forementioned pony palace would have yeilded better 'skimmers'...but what do I know of these things? There are some matters us Mums should stay out of,and stone skimming is one of them.

On the way home,with both girls falling into a soggy slumber,our minds turned to those things weve been pondering of late. I raised the question of why we neglect the celebrate the Motherheart of God,something thats been weighing on my mind of late.

Why do we only think of God as Father and how helpful is this,particularly in an age when so many fathers are absent or,dare I say it,emasculated? Its always been helpful for me to think of God as Mother as I was raised by and around strong women. Its also theologically apt,God is creator and what is a mother if not a creator of life?

We agreed that early church,in attempt to cleeve a new identity must have omitted much of the feminine from scripture. Certainly they would have wanted to disassociate themselves from the Pagan cultures just as the God commanded the Israelites  to set themselves apart from the Egpytian gods of their 'host' nation and the idol worship of the Canaanites. So in attempt to propell Christianity forward,how much of the feminine has been lost? And how can we go about finding it...I think more tea is needed!


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