March is known as the month ‘of many weathers’ and that has been true again this year. We have had a little foretaste of spring with some sunshine at the beginning of the month and some calm still days and now we are back to grey, cold, wet, and windy weather! But it has felt like a more sociable month…
I have enjoyed the writing training sessions I had signed up for, connecting with different people, and absorbing a lot of new information. I joined, on Zoom, for the first time a local Christian writing group. Such a talented group of people with a range of different projects, from mission trips to Albania, prison ministry, writing children’s stories, adult fiction, and Bible study books. It was inspiring listening to everyone’s different journey, and the possibilities that faith brings, as God opens up opportunities for us.
Another first was being part of a blog tour and an invite to a Facebook launch party for a debut historical fiction novel. It was great to “rejoice with those who rejoice” and to be making new friends! I also managed to catch up with ‘old friends’ – a walk on the coast in the sunshine, a video call and a long phone call were all a blessing.
And somehow I seemed to find the time to read several books this month…..
For my March ‘Share Four Somethings’, I am going to feature one book – “Count our Blessings” by Fiona Linday. This book is a blend of poetry and fictional short stories spanning the last two decades. The author uses creative writing to express views on difficult and important issues, with an underlying visible faith. The stories and poems are thought provoking and intermingle with beautiful declarations of spiritual hope.
The book starts with a poem, a simple reminder that we are all in God’s family. Then the first short story, ‘Off the Beaten Track,’ broadens our horizons to look far beyond our seemingly restricted lockdown world. It was written back in 2008, and set in the Baltics, a war-torn place of poverty and hardship. A gentle reminder, through the eyes of a young girl, that there are so many places in the world where choices for women are life-threatening, soul destroying, and restricted. But even in that grim world there is a glimmer of hope with just a little kindness.
I thoroughly enjoyed the mix of different writing styles in this book. It became my accompaniment to my after-dinner cup of coffee. What better way to take a break than with a short story or a poem. This became a book to linger over, and to reflect on, and a prompt to ‘count our blessings.’
The saying that you often don’t appreciate something until it has gone struck home in March as our car was failing. It had several visits to the garage, and we went days without a car while it was being repaired. Although I often choose to walk, when you must walk everywhere it slows you down – everything takes so much longer.
Finally, we motivated ourselves to shop online and find a ‘new car’. We have never done that before, bought a car online without a viewing or test drive. I had the responsibility of going to collect it and checking it over – thankfully there were no issues. It is not a brand new car, but well cared for and now treasured by us!
April of course starts with Easter, a highlight of our calendar and a celebration which seems more longed for this year. We have just marked the one-year anniversary of the first covid lockdown and although nationally the figures are going down, locally they are high. The picture can change so quickly – we have undergone community testing this week as the figures had escalated rapidly in our small town. But, I have just received my letter to go for a vaccine after Easter which I see as definite progress.
We are hoping that finally our church will re-open and are looking forward to being able to meet again. I am also longing for the warmer weather, as we can meet up with people outdoors, and I am planning some more walks with friends!
In April we have our wedding anniversary, and also my husband and I have our birthdays. My husband had a fall in January which resulted in a compression fracture in his spine – a very painful injury. He is just starting to be more mobile again, although it will still take some time before he is fully recovered. We are learning to appreciate more all that we have, and to be thankful, truly to count our blessings!