Monday, January 23, 2023


The gap between posts is widening. I know.  My most recent excuse is the emergency my son faces. His book project of 110,000 words has been struck by misfortune.  When he signed the contract he had the prospect of a 6 month sabbatical from his U.S. University, Sadly, the university has removed sabbatical privileges for all faculty while, at the same time, firing many faculty and staff as the institution has lurched into decline. Pleading for two extensions until May 2023, he has exhausted his publisher's patience. So, only 4 months remain in which to complete the manuscript.

Twenty-five years ago I would only have been able to wring my hands in sympathy,  However, when I joined Northern Seminary in 2000, my Seminary President informed me that the institution expected me to write a textbook on preaching that would be widely used  The writing/re-writing process over the next two years scarred me and left me battle hardened.  So, instead of hand-wringing, out of this hard-won experience I have committed myself to share the writing task.  My son came over from the US just under two weeks ago and we disciplined each day for work on the book.  And it took some discipline! 

My daily habits of doing the crossword, napping, reading are suspended. My blog posts are suffering too, as is Carol.  I have just shared a zoom session with him as we slowly move on.  Will we be successful? The jury is out. Hopefully, I shall keep some blog presence.

Monday, January 9, 2023

A slow start

Since both legs now operate fairly successfully, I was on coffee duty after our morning service yesterday. We served well over 100 hot drinks and a fair number of full-on customer service.  One man, returning after suffering a nasty bout of Covid, mentioned that my blog had gone quiet.  It was a double jolt - first, that I had a reader who noticed (!) and second, that 2023 had advanced quickly without me noticing. So, a slow start.

I admit the new year seems to have taken off at supersonic speed and left me behind.  But, with sciatica now, thankfully, in the rear view mirror I should pay tribute to another church member.. When the pain was severe and I was housebound, this friend called me on a Sunday afternoon and suggested that he visit me the next day with some exercises for me. Frankly, exercising was the last thing I wanted to do. I thanked him and declined his kind offer as graciously as I could.

It made no difference. He came round on Monday anyway. Apparently, he once suffered from severe sciatica and had been given exercises that really helped him.  He lay down on our wooden floor and splayed out his arms before pulling up his knees and twisting them from side to side.  Then extending his foot he held it mid-air counting the seconds.  'This is the best exercise for sciatica', he declared. I then realized that it was my turn next!  

Getting down on the floor was an effort itself and I needed a cushion behind my head.  He supervised my attempts to repeat the exercises.  With minimum flexibility I tried hard as he made encouraging and sympathetic noises. And he helped me stand up again afterwards. 

Is this a good story?  Most definitely yes.  Among other things these exercises helped me on the recovery road. And I really want to say thank you to my friend who took the time to breeze through my negatives, give a personal demonstration, and actually make a difference.  That's a real challenge to how to help others in 2023.