Just Zoë, Just Life

Monthly Archives: August 2012

Feelings as mixed as a 7 year old’s ‘cocktail’, made with flour and egg and orange squash. Not sure whether it’s creative and healthy or just nauseating.


I have mixed feelings because my husband has been offered a new job 100+ miles away. This is what we have waited for. Yet it feels so sudden, because they want him to start work there as soon as possible. So we’ll be moving. Imminently. With all that that entails. And we won’t be living in the countryside any more. And I won’t be invited to speak in church as I had anticipated (which regular readers will know I was very much hoping to), because we will have the task of finding a new one. ‘What if we don’t find one?’ is the question that creeps into my head ‘or they’re just not interested in anyone with anything new to say?’.


Mixed feelings also because I’m disappointed. I’m disappointed because someone, whom I have the greatest respect for, promised me something. That someone hasn’t done it – yet I’m sure he meant it when he said it. Not that there was a timescale on it – but it’s been nearly three weeks. And I had hoped, you know? In a way I don’t often let myself, because I have been hurt too many times. Maybe I should be more patient. It’s just that it has the potential to mean so much.


So much.


Mixed feelings because I’m sad. I’m sad because, after I agonised over how to write a letter to my oldest friend telling her how I finally reported my childhood abuse to the police… she has ignored me. I spent so long thinking how to write it, and how I didn’t want to worry her or cause distress. Nigh on three months have passed. She sent a gift for Squidge’s birthday, but nothing in response to me.


There’s still the shadow of the ex-husband’s attempt to have ‘access’ to my children. And the lurking unease associated with the police’s ongoing efforts at investigating what I told them about my childhood experiences.

Mind you, there are positives, and for that I am so thankful. When we move, we won’t be anywhere near the ex-husband so will never have to worry about avoiding certain places. That will be amazing! And because we’ll be in the town, I won’t have to spend two hours a day on the school/work run. Frank will be able to walk to work and with any luck the girls will walk to school. There are lots of facilities in the town, too – a gymnastics club, a swimming pool, a large park and a classical guitar teacher for me, so I can finally take up classical guitar again.


I’m also planning to continue my writing – I seem to have had dozens of ideas for stories lately – and my next OU course begins in four weeks. Then there is the adventure of finding whichever church God has in store (though I am rather petulantly telling Him that I like our current church and it does very nicely, thank you very much).


Mixed feelings. Very. I wonder if it was at times like these that Jesus took himself off into the quietness for a while, to wander alone and talk to God? Think I’ll do the same.




It doesn’t matter what religion this girl is. It is doubtful she can comprehend the difference between ‘Christian’ and ‘Muslim’.  She has Downs Syndrome.  I would like the Pakistani authorities to ask how a Special Needs child managed to get hold of a Koran (intact or otherwise) in the first place? Was it a set-up? I thank God I live in a country where freedom of speech, and freedom of belief, allows me to ask such questions.


The following is copied from the Avaaz website, where you can sign the petition to set Rimsha free:


‘Posted: 27 August  2012
This is a message from Misrek Masih, of Islamabad, Pakistan. 

Last week an enraged crowd threatened to burn my daughter alive, and in 48 hours a judge will decide whether she goes free or stays in jail. Rimsha is a minor with mental disabilities and often isn’t in control of her actions. Yet local police here in Pakistan have charged her with desecrating the Koran, and we are afraid for her life.

Right now she is being held in a maximum-security jail, and in hours, she will face the court under Pakistan’s anti-blasphemy laws, which carry the death sentence. We are a poor Christian family, witnessing mob fury over my daughter’s case, and many other families have faced similar intimidation forcing them to either flee or live in fear. But the international attention on Rimsha’s case has emboldened Pakistani Muslim leaders to speak out against this injustice and forced President Zardari’s attention.

Please help me keep up the global outcry on my daughter’s case. I urge you to sign my petition to President Zardari to save Rimsha and demand protection for us and other vulnerable minority families. Avaaz will share this campaign with the local and international media, watched carefully by all the politicians here. ‘


Click the link to sign the petition: http://www.avaaz.org/en/pakistan_save_my_daughter/?tbGribb

The boy does not like sleeping on a camp bed. It took a lot of persuading to get him to sleep on a camp bed instead of a camping mat on the ground, despite how uncomfortable it must have been that first night. He refused to sleep in the designated area of the trailer tent, but also refused to sleep outside in his own little tent. HRH wanted us to erect his tent inside the awning. This would mean we lose half our living area. It took several hours to persuade him to sleep in his own tent, on a camp bed. And that was just the evening we arrived…

You think Sheldon invented this look? Nope. HRH got there first.

We have had flapping, grunting, whispering of his displeasure, odd noises (loud) and extreme anxiety over sitting in cafes and restaurants, or walking around, or… well, nothing really, either because HRH has an irrational fear of all cameras and CCTV, which in modern life in the UK during holiday season are unavoidable, or because he’s just… spinning out, in his l’il autistic way.

Yep. HRH invented the art of the withering look. Sheldon’s disdainful glare is a mere imitation.
A mother’s love knows no bounds, eh?

All this increased anxiety (over seemingly nothing) has meant he “can’t stop remembering” things from the past which have caused him anxiety (usually things that were Mummy’s or Daddy’s fault two years ago). And won’t stop talking about them all day long.

Oh, the joy of having my failures as a mother recounted to me, over and over, spanning several years. I won’t need to account for my sins when I get to heaven. HRH can stand beside me and he’ll tell God the whole, loooooong list. Bless him. I count it all as joy…

It’s funny when we watch The Big Bang Theory and see Sheldon behaving a certain way. It’s less funny when it’s 24/7 and it’s being done by someone with exponentially less ability (and yes, I do know what that means… Sheldon ain’t the only geek). Think adolescent with common sense/social awareness of a 3-year-old. It’s also not much fun now that he’s taller than me and at least as strong.

However (every thundercloud has a glimmer of a shimmer) he had a wonderful time at Scargill, thanks in particular to one very special lady, and I will write a post about that soon. Meantime this holiday has been much more wearing than simply being at home. Frank and I are considering calling it a day <sigh> but we’ll probably stay, because Tink and Squidge are having a wonderful time, and HRH has had some moments where he was happy and relaxed.

I am just thankful that he is as able as he is. I know some parents of non-verbal kids who find holidays absolutely impossible. And despite all the challenges, my boy is not just ‘special’, he’s marvellous. He has an innocence that is inviolable, and for that I thank God.

‘When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him?’

Psalm 8:3-4

Thank you, Lord, that you are mindful of my son.

As I sit in the sunshine in rural Lincolnshire (you know it’s the 21st century when you can blog from the middle of a field) I have enjoyed reading Shaun Groves’ post this morning. He has shared several links and two of them really stood out so much that I wanted to share them, too. Blogging and blogging and reblogging until the whole universe is consumed in blogdust… Can’t be a bad thing.

Here’s Ann Voskamp’s contribution


If you’re a mouldy old cynic like me and find the music a turn-off, you can click the bar at the top and indeed turn it off. The actual words are intelligent, thought-provoking and full of grace, Voskamp-style.

And the other post I really liked was Shaun’s link to this page


Incredibly relevant (no pun intended) to all believers and demonstrates, without my having to, what my personal passion for the church is: a place where sinners can come together and worship the One who sets us free.

The only thing I would add, having been through Celebrate Recovery and having some experience of people with profound problems, is that often just coming to church isn’t enough. They need to be loved and supported as they gradually get their lives together, for as long as it takes. Celebrate Recovery is a wonderful way to do that and to learn what living by grace, one day at a time, means. I have heard miraculous stories of drug addicts being healed, which is wonderful and I praise God for his graciousness, but even if a physical addiction is healed, one must recognise the reason why the addiction took hold in the first place, and begin to address those multiple and complex root causes.

On some occasions, a person may have had a traumatic childhood, or simply never felt loved as a child. If you don’t learn how to be a human being, and that you have value, when you’re a child, it is very difficult to learn as an adult. I pray that our churches recognise this fact and welcome those who have never even had the chance to learn what the rest take for granted.

There are many and varied reasons why a person may have a screwed up life. Sometimes people have an outwardly ordinary life, and are even ‘upstanding’ members of their church, but secretly have enormous battles. How many secret drinkers are there in your church, for example? How many addictions to gambling, gossiping or ________ (fill in the blank)?

As churches, if we really are the body of Christ, we must ask ourselves this:

  • How can I be like Jesus and meet each person at their point of need?
  • How can I do this enough, not giving up because it is hard, so that they learn how much God loves them and are able to take on the mantle of Christ-follower, and in turn can shine with the light of love and thus spread the gospel?

All of us fall short

Jesus had some strong words to say to those of us who choose to ignore the plight of the broken and wounded:

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what’s coming to you in this kingdom. It’s been ready for you since the world’s foundation. And here’s why: 

   I was hungry and you fed me, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me a drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me a room, 
   I was shivering and you gave me clothes, 
   I was sick and you stopped to visit, 
   I was in prison and you came to me.’

“Then those ‘sheep’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?’ Then the King will say, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.’

“Then he will turn to the ‘goats,’ the ones on his left, and say, ‘Get out, worthless goats! You’re good for nothing but the fires of hell. And why? Because— 

   I was hungry and you gave me no meal, 
   I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 
   I was homeless and you gave me no bed, 
   I was shivering and you gave me no clothes, 
   Sick and in prison, and you never visited.’

“Then those ‘goats’ are going to say, ‘Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry or thirsty or homeless or shivering or sick or in prison and didn’t help?’

“He will answer them, ‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.’

Matthew 25:34-45 (The Message)

Thanks, Shaun.


Written by Tink, when we were at Scargill’s annual Summerfest: http://www.scargillmovement.org/Default.aspx

•Here I am to worship
•Here I am to bow down
•Here I am to say that you’re my God
•You’re altogether lovely
•You’re altogether worthy
•You’re altogether wonderful to me
•Here I am to eat now
•To eat a choccy biscuit
•To drink a cup of purple fruity tea
•It’s altogether yummy
•It’s altogether scrummy
• Whether it is breakfast, lunch or tea
•Here I am to play now
•To run around and shout loud
•To bounce a ball as high as it will go
•It’s fun to throw a frisbee
•It’s fun to play piano
•It’s fun to walk or climb upon a tree
•Here I am to make stuff
•Here I am to paint stuff
•Here I am to thread beads on a string
•It’s fun to make a necklace
•It’s fun to make a pattern
•It’s fun to print my bag and give it bling
•Here I am to worship
•Here I am to eat well
•Here I am to have a lot of fun
•I love my God by being
•Being in his presence
•Just because he loves me as I am
Tink is 9 and she wrote the vast majority of this on her own. I was so proud when she stood up and sang it in front of an audience at the daily late night ‘chat show’. Thank you, Scargill. We will be back!

I had a phonecall from the police today. The case is progressing. They went to arrest the one who abused me as a child… but he wasn’t there. Even though I’m the one who gave a video testimony I still find it slightly shocking to be taken seriously. So many in ‘authority’ declined to take the crimes seriously in the past (https://justzoejustlife.wordpress.com/2012/07/31/here-am-i/) that the fact that they are now is almost shocking. But good. I thank God and pray for justice.

I have also had a virus for the past fortnight and today I could do nothing to keep my eyes open. It is a legacy of trauma that I usually cannot sleep during the day, so when I do, I know I’m ill. Rather annoying, though. I have so much to do! But I dreamt of singing Taize, which I had the immense pleasure of experiencing during our recent visit to Scargill House http://www.scargillmovement.org/

My sister recommended a blog written by her friend

http://threebeautifulthings.blogspot.co.uk/ which inspired me to think of three things for which I am thankful today, despite the lingering nastiness of being reminded that there is a police investigation, and all the emotions that evokes.

1) A big, clattering rainstorm that washed everything clean and refreshed the air afterwards.

2) A helpful Tink who went to the corner shop on her own as the storm began in order to buy two tins of beans. Some kindly stranger took pity on her and gave her a plastic bag to hold over her head. Poor thing looked like Orphan Annie when she got home.

3) Local sausages cooked by Frank, and a tea shared with the girls. HRH was at his SEN youth group. It was nice to have some time without him (in the nicest way – when he is there, he dominates everything by virtue of his autism).

Three Beautiful Things is a slightly toned-down version of Ann Voskamp’s blog (and dare I say it, more English?). Ann Voskamp, if you don’t know, is Canadian and wrote a wonderful book called One Thousand Gifts where she documents her journey towards a life of eucharisteo or relationship with God through thankfulness. http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Thousand-Gifts-Voskamp-Ann/dp/0310321913 It is a wonderful, life changing book. I’m going to write a blog post on books that have influenced me, or I have found inspirational. Ann’s is one of those.

Good grief we are only in what, the third week of the summer holidays? How many more weeks of this are there, again? Four!

HRH has been the best behaved. Mind you, he’s also been away for a fortnight with his grandparents. Nana in particular spoils him rotten. Which is what grandparents are for.

This morning Tink asked me why we live in a kingdom.

“Because we have a queen.” I replied.

“What happens when she dies? Will it still be a kingdom?”

“Yes, because Prince Charles will become King Charles.”

Squidge suddenly bursts in, spills my lovely graze box pumpkin seeds, and yells at Tink, “I’m gonna get you in your nuts!”

I was shocked. “Where did you hear that language?! Besides, she doesn’t have any, she’s a girl.”

“Came in to give you this, Mummy.” Squidge announced.

I took the piece of paper with rainbow-coloured felt tip letters all over it. It reads:

To, Mumy [sic]

I have learnt my leason please let me go to the field other-wise I’ll be winjing all day and you dont like that so please can I, please, please can I

Love from Squidge XXXXXXXXXX

On the back it says ‘sorry card http://www.sorrycard.co.uk&#8217;

Simultaneously, both girls then burst into a chorus of “Dustmites in my mouuuuuuth….” 

What the…?

Must be something in the water.