In order to be less exposed to the Cult of More, we rarely watch television. The children love to play in the garden, on their bikes or scooter, or with their skipping ropes. Even HRH likes to ride his bike sometimes (though he mostly enjoys his DS – which was a gift from my parents).
Tinkerbell and Squidge love schoolwork (yes, it’s true!). Tink is currently sitting next to me with her latest project, a book entitled ‘Fun For Everyone’. She is happily colouring the front page in different shades of green. Yesterday, Tink and Squidge were collaborating on a powerpoint about Indian temples. This is entirely off their own bat (I had to point out that the Taj Mahal is not a temple, but other than that they did a great job). Because they’re rarely allowed to watch telly, they take it as normal to occupy themselves (same with eating healthily – because vegetables and fruit have always been normal, and no big deal, they love fruit and veg). Tink loves Maths and Squidge is a l’il bookworm. I very rarely hear the words ‘I’m bored’. Proof that we must be doing something right…?
Occasionally we will watch TV via catch-up. This tends to be comedies, or documentaries, things that either lift the spirits, or leave us better informed. If anything has a negative effect, it doesn’t get a second chance. Recently, Squidge had a terrible nightmare after reading Roald Dahl’s ‘The Witches’. She climbed into my bed and lay there trembling. I cuddled her for about an hour before she went back to her own bed. The following morning I asked her if she thought it would be a good idea not to read any more of this book. She agreed this was sensible. Very straightforward is our Squidge!
I too, had a nightmare after watching ‘Silent Witness’ on catch-up. It triggered some old memories and left me with a horrible feeling when I woke up. Silent Witness is a fantastically made, well-plotted programme, but I shan’t be watching it again. It’s all too easy to be drawn into cycles of negative thinking which don’t even seem like much, at first, but they draw you in, and then start gradually spiralling downwards. Little by little. It may not work like that for everyone, maybe my past makes me particularly susceptible, but I have no doubt that everyone has their own triggers, whether they realise it or not.
I spend a lot of time thinking about things, and how things relate to God, and how God relates to us. Thinking and praying usually go together. I also listen to audiobooks as I do my housework. The housework flies by when I am listening (well, not quite, but it’s a darn sight better than when I’m not listening – housework is deathly dull). Sometimes I listen to books about God, and about learning how to be closer to God, sometimes I listen to novels. I am currently listening to a children’s fantasy, Silver on the Tree, and the famous St. John of the Cross book, Dark Night of the Soul. You might say my tastes are eclectic (you might say Zoë is eclectic too). Whenever I have a question about how something relates to the bible, I look it up. These days, two dozen translations are at tip of my fingers, here:
I also like to pray with the children. This is not something I grew up with, so we are finding our feet. They take it in turns to say grace, and HRH loves his nightly ‘talk with Jesus’. We pray when they or others are poorly… and whenever we feel the need. I’m working on this. I think we should be doing it more.
Another thing that I have learned is a priority for a life focused on good things, is being a good friend. I am sure I am not the best, and have a long way to go, but I value my friends, and I want them to know how special they are. Yesterday I spent about twenty minutes on the phone to an elderly friend who is coming with us on holiday later in the year. She needed reassurance. I was able to give her that reassurance. We blessed each other with that phone call…
When we first met, Frank and I went to different churches. Neither could quite feel comfortable in the other’s church. We moved house last year and have been going to the local Baptist church ever since. It is a small church, with a warm welcome and some lovely people. A genuinely happy place to be. Families are welcome, and no one has batted an eyelid at HRH. They have just accepted him for who he is. It is also an exciting place to be, and has a real sense of family, and of community, which is so rare nowadays. The Cult of More makes people forget that they need one another
We spent time in Scargill in the Yorkshire Dales, back in February. It is a community of Christians offering holidays and retreats. Brilliant place. We’re going back later in the year. This was important for us as a family, and for us spiritually. Frank and I felt at home there, and that is not something I can say about many places. We’re all excited to be going back in August, and this time bringing two friends!
In conclusion, I am aware that this is a very clumsily-crafted three-part blog post. I really don’t feel as if I’ve explained it all very well. It probably sounds very dull. It isn’t 😉 As a family, we are calmer, more loving and more peaceful since we began this Quest for Less, which is not to say we are without the usual whinging and moaning, or the occasional loss of temper – don’t get me wrong! But I’m proud of me, and I’m proud of us. We’ve stuck at it and have benefited from it. I hope this has helped you understand a little of our journey. God bless X