March has been delightful. I was only at home the first (frantic) week and since then have been travelling around the UK, visiting friends and families, spending days on retreat, taking train journeys through beautiful English and Scottish countryside, and generally over eating on all the wonderful food this country has to offer!
I’ve ignored all emails, hardly glanced at my blog or twitter, and invested in this moment here. The one I’m in now. And that doesn’t mean it’s been a month without any challenges. There’s been a lot of time to think and take stock of where I am, as this baby takes up ever more space inside me.
Rasmus joined me this past week and we’ve been enjoying a “babymoon” in Scotland – Edinburgh, the Isles of Mull and Iona, and now my very favourite place in the whole wide world: my Grandpa’s home in the Highlands. And so it’s from here that I’m linking up again with the wonderful Leigh to tell you what I’ve been into this month…
This month I’ve been mostly…
reading. Three weeks of train journeys gives you plenty more time to read than normal so my book count this month has gone up considerably. I’ve read:
- The Book Thief by Markus Zusak – it’s out as a film now of course and I wanted to read it first before possibly catching it at the cinema. I loved it. It’s moving and beautiful and so thoughtfully written. Highly recommended.
- The Time Keeper, by Mitch Albom – this is our book club’s read for the month and I enjoyed it, although it wasn’t as profound as I’d been expecting it to be.
- The Testament of Mary, by Colm Toibin – I didn’t like Brooklyn when I read it a couple of years ago so I was disinclined to try another of his books, but this was a slim read and I was intrigued by the concept. It was definitely fascinating – an alternative portrayal of a much-loved woman that many might find a betrayal. But although the underlying belief is the opposite of mine, it was a good read.
- With Open Hands, by Henri Nouwen – this slim volume jumped out at me from the shelves of the Northumbria Community’s library while I stayed there and I ate up every word – and probably copied down about half of them in my journal.
- The Secret Message of Jesus, by Brian McLaren – I read this as part of my sermon preparation for Palm Sunday and it was definitely interesting. His message wasn’t entirely new to me so I skimmed some parts but did find a lot of new information too.
watching. I borrowed Eat Pray Love from my sister and watched it at my parent’s house one lazy morning. I loved the book and the film was alright, but as I’d anticipated, it doesn’t really pull in a fraction of the book’s depth and insight. Usually I am not too picky about film adaptations – I’m aware they are different mediums and so the director has to make cuts and changes. But this felt a bit too much of a let down really…
enjoying. Reconnecting with friends old and new. There was a twitter meet up in Oxford, and Uni friend catch ups in Newcastle, Oxford and Edinburgh. I spent an afternoon with my old youth workers who I love, and had tea and scones with an old lady from my home church who I still exchange letters with every couple of months (the old fashioned type that doesn’t involve a computer!).
wearing. Maternity trousers. Finally. The lengths I was going to to keep my regular jeans up was getting ridiculous so I bought a pair of jeans and black jeans from H&M in a spontaneous shopping trip. My growing belly thanks me. I’d planned on doing more maternity shopping over here in the UK but turns out most stores don’t stock their maternity clothes – you have to buy online. Boo.
visiting. Bradford on Avon and Bath with my sister on a girls’ weekend away. Apparently I went to Bath on a school trip when I was eleven but I remembered very little of the actually city (all my memories are composed of school antics at the youth hostel) and so it felt like a first time visit. We can highly recommend afternoon tea in the Pump Rooms (worth the 40 minute queue).
seeing. Golden Eagles and Sea Eagles coasting the strong winds on the Isle of Mull. Almost made me want to take up bird watching. Almost.
experiencing. this wee one inside of me has become a gymnast in the past week apparently. S/he is moving around lots and it’s so fun and surreal to feel. I’m excited and grateful and overwhelmed all at the same time. (I’m officially third trimester now in case you’re keeping tabs).
feeling. entirely impatient to meet my close friend’s wee baby girl who arrived five weeks early last week in Luxembourg. I’ve told her she’s in trouble because I said she wasn’t allowed to arrive before I got back from my trip but apparently babies don’t listen to that kind of reasoning? Can’t wait to snuggle her next week and give her mum the biggest proudest hug.
practising. I spent three days practising a monastic rhythm of Celtic prayer while on retreat earlier in the month. It was a beautiful and profound experience to have my day so wrapped up in prayer. I’m figuring out how to hold on to some of that as I go home.
eating. Far far too much. People like overfeeding their guests apparently and seem to think the “two” I’m currently eating for both have adult sized stomachs… but it’s been a grand feast! Cooked breakfasts, steak pie, my mum’s chicken leek and ham pie, sticky toffee pudding, the best fresh fish from one of Scotland’s top five fish restaurants, scones with clotted cream, cranachan, butternut and ricotta pie… my healthy pregnancy diet is officially discarded but it’s been fun!
wondering. what life will look like in three months time. Everything is changing and it’s like holding my breath as I wait to see how it all lands.
praying. Some of the Celtic prayers we used each day on retreat are close to being memorised now. They have a simple poetry to them which calms me when I’m starting to worry again. This one from the Midday Prayer has been in my mind and heart this week:
Let nothing disturb thee,
nothing affright thee;
all things are passing,
God never changeth.
Patient endurance attaineth to all things;
who God possesseth
in nothing is wanting;
alone God sufficeth.