Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween/Samhain/All Hallows Eve

Today is my birthday.
It is also the day when children wear costumes and come knocking on your door trick-and-treating.
And also Samhain, the time when pagans believe the veil between the world of the living and the dead to be at it's thinnest.

I was born and grew up in Germany, long before the curious tradition of Trick-and-treating came over from the US. And living in a Catholic family I knew nothing about Samhain either. So the 31st of October was just another day. Which also happened to be my birthday.
The day after, the 1st November, however was a special day. All Saints Day, a holiday in the Catholic calendar.
As I got older, having a day off on the day after your birthday party became a distinct advantage. ;)

However, having a day off school didn't mean lazing around in bed. It meant spending the better part of the day traipsing across church yards to visit the graves of dead relatives. Not so much fun when you are a kid ... but an opportunity to hear old stories and to learn about people I had never had the chance to meet.

Looking at the present season with the shortening of the daylight, the dying down of vegetation and falling of the leaves; with the temperature dropping and the wildlife getting ready for the winter ahead; it's no wonder that our ancestors turned towards pondering life and death and their own mortality at this particular time of year.
And perhaps it's right that we should do so too.

I don't visit graveyards anymore. But I like to think about those who have gone before me. Those who have made me and shaped me. Those who helped me become who I am today. Those who didn't always get it right, but tried their best. Those who gave me everything and I owe them so much. Those who helped shape the world and society I live in now. Those who created, invented and discovered all the things we now take for granted.
And I ponder if in even a tiny way I may be able to shape and contribute to life in a positive way too.

So forgive me if I don't celebrate Halloween. If you come knocking on my door, you won't get any sweets. I won't even open it.
That's partly because Halloween just isn't a part of me. But also because I dislike the hype and consumerism attached to it. And because to me it teaches our children that you get nice things by threating to do bad things in turn. For me it's no more than Consumerism-meets-blackmail.

So forgive this grumpy old woman for not opening her door. It's her birthday!

Monday, October 19, 2015

Winter is coming

One thing I love about having an allotment is how close it brings me to the seasons.
Yes, I know that I live in a country where I can buy fresh produce - even out of season - virtually any time... But my allotment tells me otherwise.

I love the urgency and business which this time of year brings.
Yes, at the moment I am still picking a small but steady amount of autumn raspberries. The apple tree is still laden with apples and a lot of plants are still in the ground.

But as the squirrels - who have been burying my broad bean seeds up and down the plot for weeks - know, winter is not far off.

In this part of the country frosts aren't really expected until November. But even then, November is only a couple of weeks away.
Once the frost arrives, the raspberries will stop fruiting, the apples will drop and - apart from the hardy winter vegetables such as cabbages and leeks - all produce will need to be protected somehow - either covered or picked and stored.

Winter is getting nearer.

I love the mix of having to busily plan the final jobs (picking and storing the beetroot, harvesting the apples, taking down the runner beans, processing the last tomatoes etc) and at the same time knowing that a time of quiet and rest is coming, and looking forward to it.

Winter also means shutting off the shed, letting the allotment rest, curling up in front of the fire with a freshly baked apple crumble and a blackberry wine. And perhaps next year's seed catalogue.

Winter is coming. ENJOY!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Walking The Breadline - JSA (2)

Over the last few days I heard some shocking stories. 
Stories from unemployed people who have to work 4-6 weeks at a time in Work Placements - not for pay but for continued Job Seekers Allowance. 
The reasons given are that the work placement will "provide valuable experience which will look good on the CV"  and that "it *might* lead to a proper paid job". But the paid job never comes. Instead the "trainee" is sent back to the job centre and a new "trainee" is brought in... 

Essentially this creates a work force on extremely low "pay" which is not even paid by the employer but the tax payer, and the employers gets a work force for no cost to themselves. 

That's madness! It's grossly unfair. How can we possibly allow this to happen?

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Walking The Breadline (1)

Tomorrow I am travelling to Hoylake near Liverpool to join a group called Walking the Breadline in their final four days of marching to Manchester. Walking the Breadline have already been marching for a week, having started in Tredegar on 23rd September.
For more information about the group, please visit their Facebook page.

So why am I marching? I am marching to hopefully join tens of thousands of people who are demonstrating at the Tory Conference against the austerity measures implemented by this government.

Speaking for myself, I no longer believe in the austerity rhetoric. Since the financial crisis in 2008 we have been told how we all have to tighten our belts and how we are all in it together.
Yet it’s the weakest and most vulnerable members of society who are most squeezed to make up for this obscure deficit, of which nobody seems to be quite able to explain what exactly it is. Not the richest people who have the means to pay without suffering much hardship nor the bankers who caused the crisis in the first place, but those who have very little to begin with.

How can I take austerity measures seriously when we are told it is inevitable that we have to reduce benefits, penalise people for having extra bedrooms (despite no alternative housing being available), cut tax credits, freeze public sector pay and slash essential health and public services; yet somehow there is enough money to bail out bankers, go to war, fund nuclear weapons which – God help us – we will never use, and give MPs a payrise of 11%?

The media and tabloids are keen to present to us obscure ‘scroungers’ who are apparently showered with public money, rake in the benefits and are given mansions to live in. I am not saying these people don’t exist, but statistics show us that they are a tiny, tiny minority and that the vast majority of benefits recipients are working families on such low wages that they cannot make ends meet.
At a time when homelessness and Foodbank use is increasing at alarming rate, somehow our government (and the media who serve it) manage to scapegoat the weakest and most vulnerable. Somehow they try to convince us that people only use Foodbanks because it’s an easy option, that immigrants cause the housing crisis and health care crisis, that people on benefits are just too lazy to work, etc, etc.
Child poverty is ‘eradicated’ by changing the definition of the term. A reduction in unemployment is being flaunted without mentioning that a great proportion of those new jobs are on zero hour contracts, which provide nobody with a secure income.

Yet the media don’t mention the tax avoiders and evaders, the rich with offshore accounts, the corporations who manage their companies from abroad without having to contribute to the infrastructure which enables their company to function and the health/public service which keep their workers well and safe.
In the last 7 years since the financial crisis the rich in this country have only become richer and poor only poorer. That sounds neither right nor fair. And it certainly doesn't sound like austerity is working!

I no longer naively believe that those in political power necessarily have our best interest at heart. I think it is time to ask questions, challenge and hold those in power accountable.
I think it is come to leave the comfort of our sitting rooms and meet and organise with like-minded people.

If – as I used to – you think that you are not political, DON’T!
Politics is about people and about making society work. If you live in any community and have any opinion on how it should be run, then you ARE political and you have a voice.
The welfare state is at the very core of a caring and compassionate society. It’s a system which aims to meet the needs of the people without asking who they are, whether they are deserving or whether they have paid into the system enough to have ‘earned’ getting some back.
I believe austerity is about convincing us that the welfare state is outdated, inefficient and unaffordable. It is not!
Austerity measures are uncaring and heartless, even brutal.

If you are interested in becoming politically active, consider joining a political party or local pressure group.
The People’s Assembly may be a starting point. It’s a non-party-political gathering of people from different political parties and none. There are local groups up and down the country.

If you want to support the Walking the Breadline march which solely depends on the generosity and hospitality of ordinary people to feed and house the marchers, please donate your pennies here:

Will marching and demonstrating make a difference?
It does in the sense that it helps me realise that I am not the only one and that there are many, many people out there who feel the same.

But it is hard to be heard. I steel fence is going up around the Tory Conference centre as we speak, so it will be impossible to get anywhere near the venue.
It will be difficult to get the mainstream media to report on any anti-austerity demonstrations, or if they do it is likely to be biased against it.
So you can help by spreading the message, on social media and beyond. We ARE all in it together.

Sorry about the rant.
I think I’m ready to march now …

Monday, September 7, 2015

A very big Adventure

This summer my husband and I went on a big adventure.
We did what we haven't done in over 21 years - a) went on a touring holiday on our bicycles together and b) went on holiday without our children. This also meant leaving our 18-year-old son in charge of the house for two weeks (when until now we've never left him alone for more than two days).

When we sat at the local train station, waiting to catch the train which would eventually take us to Harwich, I was filled with dread and anxiety of a level I've never experienced before.
My head was bombarded with the wildest array of scenarios which could occur when you leave the country and leave your son in charge of your home and belongings.

Mixed in with that were worries about being "just" a couple again. Would we enjoy each other's company? Or would we
get bored or irritated with each

I just wanted to cry and it would not have taken much for me to abandon our plans and go back home.

Luckily I didn't and once the train arrived
and we were on our way, my anxiety lessened.

So how did it go? Read here to find out more about the cycling side of things.

As for being a couple again, it was wonderful spending time together.
I was especially struck by those moments of stress and minor crises -  like, when we stood wet to the skin in the cold wind and driving rain, waiting for at least for 30 minutes for the ferry across the Rhine. Or when we couldn't find find the hotel after a long day cycling. Or when it took hours to get out of Den Haag...
Those were the moments that brought us really close, knowing that we'd somehow get through this together. No time to blame each other or walk off in a huff! LOL

Here's one of my favourite pictures, taken by my mum.


And our son? Well, he was of course fine! So he didn't take the rubbish out, removed the furry things from the fridge or cleaned the  bathroom, but apart from that he was well and healthy. And the house is still standing. 😁

Here’s to many more holidays together!

Tuesday, August 11, 2015


Everything on the allotment seems to have been slow starting this year, perhaps because we haven't really had a proper warm spell so far.
But finally things are taking off, and that means one thing: I have to make space in the freezer.

It's a good chance to rummage around in the bottom of the freezer, looking for the leftover fruit from last year.

I found approximately 2lbs of currants and 1lbs of blackberries. Enough for a small batch of jelly.

Making jelly is a fairly easy process.

  1. Wash the fruit, then just cover with water. 
  2. Bring to boil and let simmer until the fruit is soft and pulpy.
  3. After letting the fruit cool, pour the mixture into a large muslin cloth and hang up to let the liquid drip out. I like to hang mine from a broom handle laid across the back of a chair and the kitchen table. Let it hang for at least 4 hours, better still over night. Do not squeeze unless you don't mind your jelly being cloudy.
  4. Measure the liquid and add 1 lb (450g) of sugar per pint (550ml) of liquid. Jams and jellies need pectin to set. Some fruits, such as plums, currants and apples are high in natural pectin. Rhubarb and soft fruit such as raspberries and strawberries need to have pectin added. It can be added in liquid form, powder or already added to the sugar. If unsure you can test the pectin content with the methylated spirit test. Hubby likes this because it's sciencey. ;)
  5. Sterilise the jam jars. You can estimate to need twice as many jars as you had pints of liquid. I.e. I had 3 pints of liquid and used just over 6 jars. I tend to reuse old lb jam or honey jars with metal lids. I sterilise the jars by washing them well and putting them in the oven on a low heat. I sterilise the jar lids by simmering them in water. But if you prefer you can use waxed discs and cellophane covers instead. 
  6. Return liquid and sugar to the boil and let boil rapidly, stirring constantly. 
  7. After 10 or 15 minutes you can start testing if the jelly is ready to set. I use the wrinkle test. Put a small amount of the liquid on a plate and put in the fridge for a few minutes until cold. Then gently push it with your fingertip. If it wrinkles up it is ready to set.
    You can also look for the jelly starting to set along the side of the sauce or the spoon. 
  8. Carefully pour the hot jelly into the sterilised jars and seal with lids or cellophane covers. 
The jelly will keep for at least a year in a cool storage place.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

What weeds are teaching me. A gardener's tale

Dandelion season is upon us. The first flush of dandelions appearing in fields and on verges is a cheerful sight ... but on my allotment they are a pernicious weed.
Difficult to get rid of too. If you try to mow them down, the cut flowers will still produce seeds ...

So today I spent 2 hours picking hundreds, no thousands, of dandelion heads. Painstakingly. Tedious, tedious work. And it got me thinking.

I am someone who easily lets negative thoughts run away with her. Somehow "being prepared for the worst" turns into ruminating about every possible thing that could possibly go wrong at every possible moment.

So picking dandelion heads became a metaphor for dealing with negative thoughts.
Rather than worry about the many hundred dandelions which were still there, I tried to remind myself that every single dandelion I had picked was one which would not go to seed and produce more dandelions.

Now, for dandelion read negative thought.
Every negative thought which I manage to nip in the bud and stop from growing bigger and stronger is one less negative thought I will ruminate over and allow to occupy my thinking.
It requires constant vigilance and awareness - recognising the emerging thought and putting a stop to it.
By distracting yourself from it; by thinking about something positive; by finding constructive solutions ... whatever it is that works best.

By the time I had finished, the plot looked like this. Not a cheery yellow in sight!
Now, I know fine well that next week, or even tomorrow, some dandelions will be back.
But there will be fewer of them!
And over time the first flush of them will ease and their emergence will reduce.

In the same way, negative thoughts will lessen, if you keep on top of them.
Don't get me wrong, there will be times and seasons when you will be more susceptible to negative thinking. Because of your frame of mind at the time or because of circumstances or because of other factors.
Negative thoughts will sneak up on you, and sometimes you will find it easier to deal with them than others.

Don't beat yourself up about it. Keep plucking.
The more you weed, the more you can grow the pretty things.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Happy Earth Day!

So it is Earth Day today.
Like all special days it leaves me thinking that one day per year really doesn't get us anywhere.

Let us learn to appreciate this beautiful world we live in, learn about its amazing diversity and interconnectedness.

Let us understand that we are not detached from this planet, but a part of it.

And that it is our duty to care for it.

Let us tread lightly! Every day.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Non-dualism and social media

Once in a while I love to take time out from the daily grind to make time to go within myself, ponder, search and see what I can find. For me, Lent, Ramadan and Advent offer convenient opportunities to do just that.

This year I took Holy Week off. I had some annual leave remaining, which needed to be taken before the end of March, and the last week before Easter seemed a good time for some soul-searching.
And while I was in the mood, I decided to take some time off from social media too - one of my greatest distractions.

It so happened that during this week I met two men who had quite an influence on me, and who might just turn out to nudge me into a new direction.

The first one was Judas Ischariot.
I had agreed to take part in a reflective church service on Monday evening, one in which each of us read/played the part of one of the six characters from Stephen Cottrell's book 'The Nail' - Peter, the Centurion, Pilate, Caiaphas, Judas and Mary Magdalen.

As soon as I read the parts, I knew Judas was for me. I loved Cottrell's Judas. He was a man of conviction, a man with political hopes and dreams. He wanted the best for his people - freedom from the Roman occupation and from oppressive religious leaders. He wanted political change and his frustration grew when Jesus, the man he believed had what it took to bring that political change, did not live up to his expectations.
Judas, who was so sure that his way was the right one that he took drastic action in the desire to make it happen.

"It is not more love this world needs, but change, leadership, action!" is what he said.

Judas reminded me of some zealous political activists I have met over the last year or so, some who are convinced that the end justifies the means - no matter how drastic.
Judas also reminded me of myself, when I am blinkered and unable to see the other side, take the wider view or stand in the shoes of the other.
I loved Judas. So human, so misguided, so unable to see beyond his own small mind. So much like all of us!
Playing Judas made me cry, and it made others cry too.

Life is complicated and I think it is in our human nature to try and simplify it by taking a black-and-white approach. Much easier to see things as black or white; right or wrong; good or bad - definitely much easier than delving into the intricacies and complications of the finer details and underlying factors.
I'm not usually a very black-and-white kind of person. My world tends to be in shades of grey (perhaps even more than 50) ... although I sometimes secretly envy the black-and-white types, because I think their lives must be easier and less complicated.

But I am reminded that when I step away from the right-or-wrong thinking, I almost inevitably learn new things and gain new insights.
For example, any hardened views I might have had about issues like sexuality, abortion or assisted suicide were impossible to sustain and either crumbled completely or at least softened, when I allowed myself to see the other side, hear the stories, walk in the footsteps of another.

And I like it that way!
Easy answers are often, well, just too easy. Too simplistic!
I prefer the answer being "There is no definite answer".

Cue to introduce Richard Rohr, the other man I met this week. Richard is a Franciscan monk from the US, who describes his Christian stance as "being on the edge of the inside". That's a good place to be.
From Richard I learned a name for the thing I have been feeling for a long time - non-dualism.

Social media in particular is full of dualistic thinking. And it's so easy to fall into it ourselves. So easy to share that simplistic meme, because it is pithy and witty - without querying or challenging its validity and truth.
So easy to join the crowds which declare that...
... atheists are immoral.
... Muslims are terrorists.
... theists are stupid and incapable of rational thought.
... Tories are heartless selfish toffs.
... liberals are lefty pinko communists.
... men are sexist.
... feminists are lesbians.
... gays want to convert us all to homosexuality.
... Catholic priests are pedophiles.
... etc, etc...

Even as I write this list, it becomes easier and easier to go down that road of outrageous, unreasonable and spiteful statements.

Non-dualism - as I understand it so far - encourages us to take a situation, an event, a moment as it is; to consciously try to not give it a label and make a judgement - at least not straight away.
We love to compartmentalise. Are you right or wrong; good or bad; a friend or an enemy? Are you on my side or against me?
What if it is a whole lot more complicated than that?
What if you can even love Judas? Understand his motivations and desires? And empathise?

Where does all that leave me with my involvement in social media? I honestly don't know.
I know that I am tired of being exposed to angry and often hateful tweets and memes.
I know that having taken some time out has been refreshing, almost healing.
I may have to change how I use social media.
I may have to lose a whole bunch of friends and followers.

Perhaps I should be non-dualistic about this and give myself some time to consider it.

For those of you wanting to hear about Richard Rohr and have two hours spare, can listen to his interview here.

Monday, March 9, 2015

12 years a Christian

Today is an anniversary for me - 12 years since I became a committed and practising Christian. I had been raised in a Roman Catholic family, but hadn't given religion an awful lot of thought since leaving home in my late teens.
I had met a life partner, had children, bought a house, gotten married (in that order) without religion in my life.
I had probably always believed in some greater being or force, but had not given it a name.
I had dabbled with paganism (I loved nature and the seasons, still do), flirted with Hinduism (I enjoyed Yoga, still do) and set foot inside a church once in a blue moon (I liked the peace and serenity, still do).

Then, in my mid-thirties, I had a conversion experience. One evening. Alone. In my kitchen.
It was a very personal and precious moment, so I am not going to blog about that. But I want to reflect on the last 12 years.

I started going to a lively evangelical free church - 'Bible-believing', 'spirit-filled', with energetic worship and long sermons. It took a pretty literal interpretation of scripture. Creationism wasn't openly mentioned, but seemed to be covertly implied; homosexuality was frowned upon (in the 'Hate the sin, but love the sinner' kind of way); women had an inferior role to their husbands.
I was never comfortable with those things, but for a long time felt I could hold that tension and accommodate the differences.

In the end it wasn't the differences in opinion which drew me away, but the fact that having different opinions was discouraged. If one had a question, there was only one answer - that of the pastor/leadership.

I can't function like that. In fact, the worst thing you can do is to tell me what I can/cannot believe.
Atheist friends have taught me that our convictions can only be our own. We hold them, we own them and - if we are honest with ourselves - we review them regularly.

I demand for myself an immense level of freedom. The freedom to mull things over and choose for myself my very personal path.
Some call that cherry picking. I call that being true to myself! :)

I find beauty and meaning in all sorts of religious and non-religious traditions, practices and ideas.
I have found a home (for now at least) in the Church of England in a church where nobody tells me what I can and cannot do, where I am respected and appreciated as I am and where the congregation is very active in social justice and in the local community.

Has becoming a Christian made me a different person? Yes and no.
Many of my values have always been there.
Genetically determined?
Implanted during childhood?
Willed by God?
Who knows.

But I find that my faith crystallises certain values out for me and has become a permanent framework to remind me to strive to be a better person. And yes, I believe to strive to become the person God wants me to be.
Principles like forgiveness, perseverance, grace and patience are things which my faith constantly calls me to do.
To not give in to bitterness, anger and cynicism.
To hold onto hope and trust and love. To believe in a better world and our (god-given) ability to build it.

My faith has changed over the years and it will no doubt continue to change. It seems to mature and become clearer and sharper. The more questions I ask and the more difficult conversations I have, the more I understand what it is I believe and why. The more comfortable I also become in being clear and honest about the many things I don't understand.

Despite it's tricky connotations, I have always found the description 'being born again' quite accurate.
Choosing to become a Christian and essentially follow the teachings of Jesus was a fresh beginning and a commitment for me. And one I have not regretted in 12 years.
If you are one of those people who have honed and sharpened my faith, I thank you for your companionship.

Whether you are a Christian or a follower of any other faith or none, I am glad to know you.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

My year on Twitter. What have atheists ever done for me?

Almost exactly a year ago, at the beginning of Lent 2014, I opened a Twitter account. I had decided to spend my Lent as a time to really listen to people, with the intention to understand, engage and connect.

When I say 'people' I meant in particular atheists. I figured that by listening to atheist strangers I might learn something about atheists closer to home, and that some conversations might be easier with strangers than with loved ones.

A year and 20.5K (!) tweets later, perhaps it's a good time to reflect and look back. And hey, a new Lent has arrived and who knows where this one will take me??

My life on Twitter turned out more varied and interesting than I had anticipated. I became political and tweeted about marching for the NHS; about the Greenbelt festival and LGBT issues; about knitting #ToriesMustGo beanies; about running; being a humanist Christian and lots more. And more importantly I made a bunch of friends and had heaps of fun!

But back to the atheists. After all, this blog is dedicated to them. :)

Having innocently joined the Twitter community I very quickly met atheists like I had never met in real life! The aggressive, militant, out-to-offend type.
I got to practice taking a deep breath, being gracious and forgiving, keeping calm and friendly A LOT!

To be honest, being offensive or aggressive isn't a problem for me. As long as people are willing to engage, sooner or later there is common ground, which friendships or at least connections can grow on. I have taken part in some pretty tough and painful conversations which have led to great friendships - once the waves had settled, the pain and anger eased ... and two people had remained, still looking at each other and eventually smiling too.

The bigger problem are the people (and not just atheists, of course!), who actually have no intention to engage; who just want to shout their message loudly and without distinction into the void.
So if you are a one-trick pony with just one message and seemingly nothing else in your life, chances are we will struggle to engage with and learn from each other.
Even then, I have learned to stop and ponder why some people might be so angered and so driven to just share that one single message.

I have learned from my time on Twitter that many atheists are...
  • ... Angered by theists who reject scientific proof if it contradicts scriptural accounts/teachings (apparently there are many of those out there); especially when those teachings lead to harmful, hateful or discriminatory behaviour (i.e.being against LGBT rights; denying climate change; being against human rights in general; discriminating against people from other faiths or none; rejecting medical treatment, especially for children etc). I am with you, my atheist friends.
  • ... Bewildered by theists who use 'religious language', which to an atheist has no meaning at best and which can sound patronising at worst. I have learned to avoid expressions such as 'I will keep you in my prayers' or 'I feel God is calling me to...'. I use this kind of language with ease when speaking to other believers, but I have learned that for many atheists it touches a nerve.
    I am finding that some atheists are curiously literal in their interpretation and find it quite hard to accept that other people take a much less literal view.
    When I say 'God is calling me to...', I don't usually mean that I have just heard a booming voice giving me instructions.
  • ... Irritated by the superior thinking of some theists that everybody who does not subscribe to religion A will be doomed to eternal hellfire and misery. And some have been treated terribly by those who call themselves religious and godly. I feel ashamed on their behalf!
  • ... Upset by a world in which suffering is a reality and even more frustrated that theists believe this world to be created a by a loving deity. This is probably the most meaningful issue for me. Especially since there has been a fair amount of discussion about this in the wake of Stephen Fry's thoughts on what he would tell God if he met him.
The issue of suffering is one we all have to grapple with, and we come to different conclusions.
I can see that simply disbelieving in God seems the easier option. Shit happens, and that's all.
Suffice to say, when I meet God the question of suffering is right on top of the agenda.

Perhaps the most difficult moment comes when atheists meet theists who don't fit into the "all-theists-are-thick,-uneducated-and-gullible" category. Sometimes I think that is the most frustrating of all.
So you question the Bible? You disagree with much it says? You don't think it is God's direct word? You think much of it is metaphorical? You think you have to read it through the lens of modern knowledge and understanding, and interpret it for yourself? You think it is your responsibility to question it?
Then why on earth do you follow it at all??!

If you atheists have taught me anything over the last year, it is to think about my faith much more and to be much clearer about what I believe and why. Frustratingly for me, that doesn't mean I can always convey these things to you. Often we seem to lack the common language and perception to be able to make each other understand. And a limit of 140 characters does not help! 

You have taught me to not assume that the path which seems so right and beautiful for me is not necessarily so for others. And that I must be careful in how I choose my words, because being hurtful and causing offense is just not something I want to do.
If I value your thoughts and feelings, then I should do my best not to hurt you in any way.

So, what now and where to next?
I don't yet know. Perhaps I am waiting for God's calling ... ;)

Here's to my atheist friends. I love you all! xx