Sketch artist and writer Candace Rose Rardon tells the story of her search for home through the different teas she has discovered while traveling.Home is a Cup of Tea
The easy and the good
Walking the dogs the other day I was chatting to Jesus about all the things I want to do and my sometimes very low motivational levels.
He pointed out to me that just because it’s something you love, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. What he actually said was;
Choose what you really love over what is easy.
It struck me particularly because so often things are presented as “do what you love and you will always be motivated”. If only it were so.
Sometimes it’s so easy to slip into Facebook scrolling or phone gaming when the time could have been used for something I am genuinely passionate about – because it cost me less.
It costs me to motivate myself to begin where as a coffee, my phone and the sofa, do not.
It is so easy to lose the battle of attrition by slowly doing less until all motivation has departed.
This is where timetabling and routine cane so helpful. It helps me say, “no I won’t sit down just yet, I will do this first’
And my customary (which sets out the rule of life I live by) helps me listen to more fruitful things on my phone as I eat my lunch.
There will, I suspect, always be times where I just veg out, but I hope these times will become more intentional and less the product of inertia.
Lord, please help me to spend my hours wisely, and please give me the motivation… To say motivated. Amen.
Okara sea burgers
I have started making soya milk again, because it is cheaper and it means we are no longer swimming in a sea of tetra packs.
Its by product, okara, is very nutritious and full of protein so I have started experimenting with recipes. Today we had okara sea burgers.
This was the okara from 2 litres (1 cup of dry soya beans) of soya milk - about 400g
Added in, half a mushroom stock cube,
1 carrot grated
4 spring onions chopped finely
1 nori sheet cut up into small strips (use scissors,.much easier than a knife)
2 heaped dessert spoons of corn flour
80g of plain flour
Salt and pepper
2 dessert spoons of oil
Sweet chilli sauce for dipping.
Mix all the ingredients with enough water to make a dough and then shape into small patties (or sausage shape if you have a 4 year old who won't eat it if it's any other shape).
Air fry for 10 minutes at 200 C or fry in a pan.
They are mild enough for a preschooler to eat (he had his with ketchup) and are tasty dipped in sweet chilli sauce.
We ate ours with noodles, mange tout and mushrooms.
The Master Gardener
I have a ton of guilt. No job Not contributing to society Or household income. And at this moment Not doing the housework either. But I just want to be With You, Here in the garden. It seems to me That so much Of Your business Is conducted in gardens. You, The master gardener Of hearts and souls Of created order And heavenly shalom.
Ways to help people in your life when they are low or depressed
I have, over the last few weeks, taken part in a course which looks at what Jesus had to say about blessing and the kind of people who find blessing. It is a practical course where we are set tasks to do each week. This week has been about being a blessing through seeking justice.
Imagining how we would like the world to be and doing something practical about it. This post is my attempt at that.
To be honest, most of my suggestions on helping people find their way through life when depressed or low comes down to things that I have found work, or things I would find a blessing myself.
It has been to some degree or another, a feature of most of my adult life. Like so many, the last 12 months have magnified it considerably. I have had more trouble with it over this last year than I have for the best part of ten years. On the bright side, I am also much better equipped to deal with it than i was in the past, but it still sucks.
It is worth bearing in mind that the spectrum of low through to really really depressed is both wide and deep. And how you help will depend on how well you know the person, how much (or not) they want to be helped and how much you are able to give without shooting yourself in the foot.
The difficulties depression brings are many, but just imagine trying to get on and do an ordinary day when:
- Your brain feels like someone removed it, put it on the shelf and filled your head with cotton wool instead.
- You feel anxious like you are about to take an exam on which the rest of your life depends
- Your inner voice is constantly telling you that you are rubbish, no one loves you and you might as well die.
- When you are presented with any kind of decision be it what to have for dinner or which pair of socks to put on, it puts you into an emotional tailspin
- You are thoroughly exhausted and either cant sleep at all or need to sleep 15 hours in every 24.
- You are full of grief like feelings which at times are so strong its physically painful.
- As you cope less and less, your world shrinks to fit what you can manage until you are shut indoors unable to make contact with anyone.
So what can we do to help someone? To be honest, my ideas mostly come down to making sure the person continues to know they are not forgotten and not alone. Pick the things you like and that are relevant, leave the rest.
Keep in contact
Bear in mind that not everyone will feel able to talk on the phone. Whatsapp, email and especially physical mail are really useful.
Try not to put people on the spot – “how are you” can floor people or make them feel like they need to get better quickly so they have something to say. Perhaps try “how has today been?” instead.
Small gifts or a handwritten note can give people physical evidence that they are cared for at a time when they can’t trust what their brain is telling them. There is so much out there for free to beautify anything you send (see links below for examples). Gifts which help self care are far more valuable than their material worth.
Whether you believe in God or not, how ever you are able, positive thoughts thoughts or asking Jesus for strength and healing – lift up your friend in prayer. It will make a difference to both of you.
Even in these socially distanced times, it is possible to offer practical help. From shopping or providing home cooked meals or making phone calls on behalf of the person you are supporting.
Getting outdoors and exercise are incredibly valuable but it can feel just too much to get out of the door alone. Organising to go walking with someone where you turn up on their doorstep at a prearranged time, prepared to wait while someone gets ready because they haven managed to do that yet, is a real gift.
The crisis card
A crisis card or plan, is something a person writes while they are well. In it they detail what they would like to happen if they become really unwell. It is invaluable because it helps that person remain in control of their lives and gives you, the helper a list of things that really do help. If you are in a good enough relationship with someone, this is something you might suggest to them. Blurt Foundation Crisis Plan.
Get help and get educated
Helping someone with a mental illness can mean being in for the long haul. It can also take a lot out of you. So dont go it alone. As a minimum, have someone in your life you can speak to in confidence and how YOU are. But also, where ever possible, get a few of the person’s friends/relatives together and figure out who is going to do what and when, so that you can week by week support the person without burning out yourself.
Finally, make sure you sre up to date with your own knowledge. Have a look round some of the following websites:
I hope this has helped you. If it has, please pass it on to others. If it allows people who are low or depressed to live a more empowered and loved life, I will be a happy woman.
Free Printables https://www.thedesignhippo.com/free-printable-positive-affirmations-to-tell-yourself-daily/?epik=dj0yJnU9YzY3RDFCVFpoWXYwckNhNS1vS1BXRXFXMnFXd2N1MVEmcD0wJm49WUFiemk4ek5MVl9TLUFGdTNMcVM5dyZ0PUFBQUFBR0FhaVA4
Christian festivals in our house – Epiphany
So Epiphany was yesterday, so in our house this happened. I some homes it is done very beautifully, but we let our 3 year old (helped by daddy) have the chalk. (I think Jesus smiled):
Christmas finishes with Epiphany (6th January) – when the three kings visit Jesus. An age old tradition at this time is to bless your household by chalking the door. (Via www.reflectionary.org/2021/01/01/chalking-the-doorway-a-house-blessing-for-epiphany/) If you would like to do this, here is how…
Chalking the Doorway….
….is a visible symbol of God’s presence, peace and blessing.
Gather your household at the main door of your home and take turns reading the short passage from Matthew (below) and writing these letters in chalk either above the door, down the sides, or on the doorstep.
20 + C + M + B + 21
Finish with some short prayers and a final blessing – written out below.
What does it mean?
The 20 and 21 are the current year (so change it to 22 or 23 etc in future years).
The crosses remind us of Jesus and of the star that guided the Wise Men to him.
The letters C, M and B are for their traditional names (Caspar, Melchior and Balthazar), but can also stand for ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat’, which is Latin for ‘May Christ bless this house.’ Or if Latin is not your bag, how about thinking ‘Christ, My Blessing’ each time you pass underneath?
Write the letters first, spaced out, then the numbers, and finally add the crosses.
Read this short gospel passage about the visit of the Wise Men, and imagine them coming to your home, just as they visited Mary, Joseph and the young Jesus. We hope that they would find Christ living in our homes too.
Matthew 2:1-2, 9-11
Wise Men Visit the Messiah
After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Wise Men from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him. … The star that they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced greatly. Going into the house they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they fell down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.”
One person reads out these words slowly, with pauses for different people to write these symbols either above the door, down the sides or on the doorstep:
20 + C + M + B + 21
The Three Wise Men: Caspar [pause while someone writes C], Melchior [write M], and Balthasar [B], followed the star to find the Christ child two thousand  and twenty-one  years ago. May Christ [+] bless [+] our [+] home [+].
Peace be upon this house (school/church/etc), and upon all who enter here.
May all who enter our home rejoice to find Christ living here.
Lord Jesus, may we be like the star that guided the Wise Men to you, shining the light of your love to others.
The Lord bless us and keep us;
the Lord make his face shine upon us
and be gracious to us;
the Lord turn his face toward us
and give us peace.
A moment to breathe
As part of my work as a community pastor, I have started an online magazine all about self care and things to lift people up. I thought you might like to take a look…
Your “thing” is also your gift.
I haven’t written for five months, and it has been erratic before that. I regret it, and its time to claim back writing time, even though there isn’t any.
But that isn’t really what I want to talk about. Are there things in your life which people say “oh that’s just [you]” ?
You know, your passion for pretty teacups or the PS4 (give it a couple of months and it will be PS5). That way you always buy fair trade and try to encourage others to, or your utter passion for endangered frogs.
The fact that you went to all the trouble to rescue a Romanian street dog or your habit of picking up every littered crisp packet you see. Your love of all things Kawaii… I could go on.
I am 100 ideas before breakfast girl. It’s pretty much the running joke when ever I have a new idea. It can lead me into inaction if I try to follow every idea, or to burnout. But I have learnt to wait, pray and think, before i embark on any practical action towards a new idea. And it is a gift which means I can encourage and lift people with possibility they may not have seen.
And because I can see the whole, from the start, it means I can paint the vision for other people. That vision of what could be, has kept me going even when all has looked lost, because I can see what beautiful blessings could be had for those around me.
You may feel that your “thing” is just yours and that no one else need be bothered. you may feel its important for everyone but you keep getting passed over because its “your thing”
But you know, your thing, is your gift to the world.
We cant all be everything to everyone. And besides, humans are made to live and function in community. When the Apostle Paul was trying to explain how everyone’s “thing” was important, he put it like this:
1 Corinthians 12:12-27 New Living Translation
One Body with Many Parts
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. 15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. 19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part! 20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. 21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. 23 And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, 24 while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. 25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. 26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.
27 All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.
It’s an important text. It means that just because other people see your gifting or interests as something “We regard as less” doesn’t make it so in the eyes of God.
You are a gift, made with loving care by the creator and given for the moment and the place you find yourself in.
Who you are, what you love, where you place your energy, matters. Without all that good stuff you bring to the place and people where you live, that community, would go through life with a limp.
Never think your “thing” is just you. And dont let people dismiss you with oh thats just you.
Your thing, is your gift.
This lovely purple flower is the latest thing to arrive in the garden. It is in fact tiny… I out an arrow to it so you can see where it is.
There is always something new in the garden every day, nature is always in the move. And yet at the same time it all takes so much longer than the current pace of human life. The peas which at the moment are plants of maybe five leaves will be a couple of months growing before we get to eat any peas.
And this is what I am asking God at the moment. How can I be always on the move for him, while also taking proper time in order that I might stay healthy, and produce good fruit for Him at the proper time.
I know it has to do with less is more. You don’t need to keep fiddling with plants, you just water them, remove a weed if it pops up and leave the rest to God.
I know it has to do with making proper time to be with the One who had made it all anyway.
As I seek to write down my personal outworking of the vows I intend to take later in the year (it’s called a customary) I am asking God to help me keep in step with him. To always be about honouring him, while walking at his pace, not at the pace our consumerist driven mad mad world.
And in the meantime I shall watch the bees enjoy the lupins in the garden.