God and ASDA

Stories and thoughts: past, present and future


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Nativity Photo Shoot

Some years ago, my daughter was asked to write and produce a short dramatic piece about Christmas, and, as I wasn’t allowed to see anything before the actual performance, I had no idea what was coming. What she came up with amazed me.

As the curtains opened, we saw the stage filled with a Nativity Scene – A Star, Angels, Shepherds, Wise Men, Mary, Joseph and the Baby Jesus in His manger. You could have heard a pin drop!

Nativity Scene

Suddenly, in burst a photographer, apologising for being late. “Where’s this wondrous event?“ he asked. He said he didn’t have much time to arrange the group properly but it was obvious to him that there were going to be too many people “in the shot”. He then set about squashing people in and moving them about, just to get his picture “perfect”. He moved the Shepherds to the front, sitting cross-legged, then the Wise Men were made to stand at the back, with Mary and Joseph in front of them. The animals had to go, of course – they wouldn’t keep still! But the photographer still wasn’t happy. He said that the Baby would have to be removed so as to fit everything else in.

How many of us have, at some time or another, moved God aside so as to get on with our busy lives? The excuses can come thick and fast:

“I can’t go to Church on Sunday because……….” (Family visiting, going out with friends, Car Boot Sale, etc. etc”)

I can’t read my Bible because……. “ (Too busy, too noisy, can’t fit it in, etc. etc”)

“I can’t pray because………” (Too busy, can’t think what to pray about, can’t concentrate, etc. etc”)

There are millions of reasons why we can’t do something, but one vitally important why we should.

God made us and He loves us. He sent His Son, Jesus, to die for us – that’s YOU as well! He cares for us and is concerned with everything we do, say and feel.

So, come to Him each day, even for just a few minutes, and you’ll be amazed at the difference it can make to your day.

I love this poem:

    I got up early one morning and rushed right into the day;
    I had so much to accomplish that I didn’t have time to pray.
    Problems just tumbled about me,
    and heavier came each task,
    “Why doesn’t God help me?” I wondered.
    He answered, “You didn’t ask.”

    I wanted to see joy and beauty,
    but the day toiled on grey and bleak;
    I wondered why God didn’t show me;
    He said, “But you didn’t seek.”

    I tried to come into God’s presence;
    I used all my keys at the lock;
    God gently and lovingly chided,
    “My child, you didn’t knock.”

    I woke up early this morning,
    and paused before entering the day;
    I had so much to accomplish that I had to take time to pray.

    (Grace L. Naessens)

God Bless.


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Knit One, Purl One, Drop One

Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a prolific knitter. This all started about thirteen years ago when I was suffering from agoraphobia and the only safe place was in my lounge. I would only go out if I was accompanied by someone whom I could trust not to leave me stranded whilst they popped into a shop!! And so, in order to pass the long hours, I started knitting and now it has become part of my life. (Before we go any further let me say that I am now fully restored to normal health and it’s hard to keep me indoors!!).

I’d learnt to knit at school and, thinking back, it must have been quite frustrating to watch us kids (boys were not excluded!) with our tongues poking out, pulling strange faces whilst trying to get the needle into the stitch and wind the wool around. Our teacher was Miss James, and here I have to admit that we called her “Pimple Nose” as she had the largest wart you’ve ever seen right on the end of her nose. She was probably only in her forties but I thought she was at least 90. I recently saw an old film of that school and there she was – exactly as I remembered! How cruel children can be. So, Miss James, if you’re still around and reading this (both highly unlikely), I apologise. But in all fairness, she was an excellent teacher and I soon mastered the art of knitting.

Our first project was to knit a dish cloth for our Mums. We used large wooden needles and a very rough, thick wool and had to knit “cabbage stitch”. This entailed winding the wool around three times then dropping off all the stitches to make a large, hopefully secure, hole. Mum was really pleased when I took my finished cloth home and, as she also enjoyed knitting, she taught me other stitches and I soon became quite adept.

Over the years I’ve knitted many of my children’s clothes – not all clothes for many of my children, rather, many clothes for my two children!! Then as they grew older and didn’t want knitted cardigans any more, I gave up; but the skill was always there, as I found out when I used it as therapy at the onset of my illness in 2000. I had to begin all over and regain my confidence, though, and therefore my first efforts were small items – Christmas tree decorations and such like.

Christms Tree Decorations.White Rabbit

As I became more proficient I attempted other things, but generally I now only make toys and dolls.

Pixie

My desire to improve increased and before long I was looking for more difficult patterns to attempt. I was even being asked to do dolls for special occasions – unique to that item.
This one was for William and Kate’s wedding:

Bride

And so, finally, is the most intricate of all the things I’ve knitted –

Scottish Piper

    The Scottish Piper

Now from all this, you’ll see that I have become more adept and accomplished as time has passed and this reminded me of my Christian life, too.

When I gave my life to Jesus back in 1983 I thought “what now?” At first I attended the local Methodist church, preferring to sit at the back, leaving as soon as the final prayer was over in case the Minister or someone else would wish to speak to me. Following that I went to a local Baptist church and enjoyed the freer style of worship. The teaching was good and I eventually became a member. I was growing and learning new things every day. I bought books and tapes (no CDs in those days!) and found that I wanted to learn more and more, and becoming more adventurous in my worship. Following my Baptism I received the gift of tongues – a gift I use every day of my life.

And now? Well, I now attend a Pentecostal church where we believe in the work of the Holy Spirit and the experience of the presence of God by the believer. I finally feel as if I’ve “arrived” and, together with my husband, recently saved and baptised, truly believe that is where God wants us to be.

    For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

    Jeremiah 29 verse 11 N.I.V.

So, you see, just like learning to knit – or anything else you can name – you have to take it a little at a time and with experience you’ll find great satisfaction. Praise the Lord!


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Going to the Pictures

When I grew up in the late 1940s and 1950s, entertainment was to be found at the local cinema. We didn’t actually call it the “Cinema” or “The movies” or even “Going to see a film”. It was always called “going to the Pictures“. The cinema was called the “Picture House”

The local Picture Houses all had exotic names and you could well have been watching your heroes at The Regal, The Majestic, The Plaza or The Empire. Where I lived in the Midlands, our local cinema was called The Palace. It certainly looked like a palace inside (through my young eyes), with plush carpets, and seats which folded back when you stood up. There were also the “lovers’ seats” along the back row – two in one so that the armrest wouldn’t hinder snuggling up. It also had an indefinable “smell”. I couldn’t describe it; it’s unlike anything else. Cinemas these days don’t have it – it’s gone, along with all the other things that made the Picture House special.

There were two Picture Houses in our town. As well as the Palace there was the Savoy, locally known as “The Bridge” as it was built on Bustle Bridge over a canal which ran under the main street. I think the Palace was the more popular of the two.

Outside there would be photographs on either side of the main door, showing stills from the current presentation and also one showing the forthcoming attractions. There would be queues around the building if a particularly good film was showing. In the early days of my childhood, the Pictures would run continuously all evening and, if we’d gone in halfway through the programme, we would leave at the point “where we came in”. You would actually hear people say: “This is where we came in.” and get up and leave. (Imagine knowing the end before you’ve seen the beginning!) But, within minutes the usherette would be walking down the aisle, pointing her torch to where the empty seats were. The place would be packed all evening. My parents used to go to the pictures – but not together! Mum would go early, whilst Dad looked after us, then, when she returned, Dad would go.

This system changed and “Houses” were introduced, which meant that the Picture House opened at, say, 5.30 p.m. when one complete programme would be shown. That was the “First House”. Once the place had been emptied and tidied up , the “Second House” patrons would be allowed in. No sitting twice through the programme any more!

Just before the main feature started, the house lights went up and the Ice Cream girls came and stood at the front. These were usually ladies who carried a tray of ice creams and lollipops which patrons could buy to eat during the film. A tub of ice cream came complete with a small wooden spoon-shaped spatula: if you didn’t have a “spoon” then you folded the lid in half and used that!! After a while, when the queues had ended, the girls would stroll up the aisle again, just in case anyone hadn’t been served. No popcorn in those days!

I rarely went to the pictures in the evenings when I was young but I vividly remember one visit with my sister. We went to the “First House” to see “Little Women”. I cried when Beth was very poorly and almost died: my sister was not amused and kept poking me to tell me to be quiet. I was about seven at the time!

But the best times of all were Saturday Pictures. This referred to the day and place where mayhem, disorder and pandemonium broke out. It was the day that kids went to the Pictures.

We would all queue up in an unruly mob, the boys would be shouting and fighting and generally behaving like kids did in those days. The tickets cost either sixpence or ninepence (2.5p or 4.5p) depending on whether you went downstairs or upstairs. We always went downstairs – that was where the action was!! The Commissionaire (otherwise known as “Old Smelly”) would stand by the exit doors to ensure no-one crept in the back way without paying. Woe betide anyone caught attempting to do so. There were no Child Protection or Health and Safety guideliness to be found in those days! A sharp crack across the back of the head was what they received and a quick boot outside into the street!

As soon as the lights dimmed everyone cheered – the show began. The programmes consisted of cartoons, a main complete film and a serial to encourage us to go along on the following Saturday – not that we needed much motivation. It didn’t really matter what was shown anyway, we were in heaven just being there. Kids would shout encouragement to the hero and boo the baddie. If anyone in the film started fighting, the boys in the audience would copy and start bashing each other, then Old Smelly would walk down the aisle – just a look was enough to quieten the mob! I remember one serial was “The Last of the Mohicans” (1936) and one episode ended with Alice Munro, a “paleface” woman, tied to a stake waiting to be burnt. I can tell you I was one of the first in the queue the next week to see whether or not she was saved. (She was, by the way!).

I was trying to find a picture of either of these old cinemas but they have both long since been demolished. However, my memories are still there. I rarely, if ever, go to the cinema these days. They don’t make films like the old ones. If it’s a remake you can guarantee the original storyline will be lost in a “modern take”.

But there’s one thing that won’t change with a “modern take” and that’s God’s Word in the Bible. I invite you to Google the following:

“John 3: 16 in all English translations”

Message in the Sand

You’ll find subtle differences, yes, but not one of these translations can alter the very essence of the message – that God so loved the world that He sent His Son Jesus to save us from certain death. Check it out if you don’t already know. It could save your life!

God Bless you.