Thursday, 22 December 2011

Happy Christmas

It's just three days until Christmas.

I've not written many cards this year, but have sent a few e-cards, courtesy of the Open Door project in Livingston.

If you are looking for a cause to support this Christmas time, give them a look:




Grace & Peace,


W

Friday, 28 October 2011

what's your number

According the BBC website today, my birth nearly thirty three years ago meant that I was, well you can see the numbers.

Not hugely significant, if you look at it like that.

But numbers aren't everything, are they?

We aren't defined by what our number was. Neither is our identity wrapped up in our place in the queue.

Our real identity is wrapped up in who the creator says we are, which is far more appealing.

Interestingly, the God of the universe seems to care enough about us to have numbered the hairs on our head. The length of our days. The deepest thoughts of our hearts.

And that's a very encouraging thought.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Homemade Lemon Curd

I just sync'd Mrs theWeir's iPhone with the iMac for the first time in a good few weeks.
Found this nugget of a picture, and am quite taken by it.
Lemoncurd
It's homemade Lemon Curd in a nice glass jar, but I think there's life in the image and that's why I am so taken with it.
Simple objects can portray the most stunning beauty.
The craft of making something from other things.
The discipline to follow a recipie that's tried and tested.
The creativity to add a little of yourself.
The effort to stay with it.
The confidence to share it with others.
I'm thinking that there's so many parts of thie that are easy to skip over, thinking they aren't required. But we know that's selling ourselves short, missing what we were made for.
I know what that Lemon Curd was made for. I'm off to find a knife and some wholemeal bread.

Friday, 15 July 2011

There's messages here. Somewhere.

When out walking the dogs this morning, I walked through the local skatepark.

I had to stop and take some photos, some nice grafitti, some less so.

But all of it says something. About the artist. About the area. About the mindset.

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Where has he gone?

Wow, this blog is looking neglected.

Mainly because my attention has been focussed on creating the 8:30 blipfoto log everyday. So I am writing, but just over there.

I have got a few longer-form thoughts on the way though. Just need to make time to get them out.

Do you miss me?!

;->

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Stop writing and go to sleep

I emailed myself last night.

I wanted to write a few words to backdate a blip.

I started this when I was in bed, ready for sleep.

This is what I sent:

This wee treat was waiting for me when I got home tonight.


When we were on holiday, the weeWeir had borrow the Catnsrrzqw

I have no idea what I was thinking. I will stop doing that. And sleep.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Mass Observation Day


Yesterday, I noticed a tweet pointing people to the Mass Observation site: http://www.massobs.org.uk/12may2011.html

In 1937, Mass Observation called for people from all parts of the UK to record everything they did from when they woke up in the morning to when they went to sleep at night on 12th May. This was the day of George VI’s Coronation. The resulting diaries provide a wonderful glimpse into the everyday lives of all sorts of people on this day.

The Mass Observation Archive repeated this call in 2010 by asking for electronic diaries written on 12th May. This day, coincidently, was the first day of the new coalition government. These diaries are stored in the Archive alongside the 1937 documents. May 12th 2011 is likely to be quite an ordinary day but we would still like to have your diary.

Write as much as you can about what you do, who you meet, what you talk about, what you eat and drink, what you buy or sell, what you are working on, the places you visit, the people you meet, the things you read, see and hear around you and of course what you yourself think.


I thought it looked like a lark, so I captured my day. It wasn't the most exciting day, in fact pretty ordinary. But it was the day that I lived.

Hope you had a good day too.
01:30. awake to give the weeWeir a drink of water and a little milk.
01:35. back to sleep.
05:30: aware of Mrs theWeir being up to the weeWeir. Failure to move as sleep over came. Not the most helpful husband.
06:35: awake to check the time, a little bemused that my alarm had gone off at 6:17 and I didn't recall hearing it, never mind turning it off.
06:55: trying to wake up, but not having much joy
07:15: awake, turning over and committing the
07:20: check the weather forecast on the Met Office iPhone app to confirm method of transport to work. Cycling all the way it shall be. Resist the temptation to check Facebook app and quickly delete the day%27s Groupon offer email.
07:22: commit the day to God in prayer. Quite enjoying not rushing up and about.
07:30: realising I need to shave before cycling, get up and shave
07:40: changed, bag packed and water consumed, empty the kitchen bin on the way out to the garage - and the bike
07:45: Set off for work on cycle path alongside the A89, posting a couple of things on the way.
07:55: wave at a neighbour driving works van
08:12: join the Union Canal at Hermiston
08:30: opt to not take a photo for my eight-thirty blipfoto blog
08:38: arrive at EH1 2DH after 15 miles.
08:43: getting clean and changed
09:00: bump into a colleague and former school mate on the way to get breakfast from the staff shop, deleting email on the Blackberry on the way.
09:05: at my desk, starting up the Mac and looking at my to-do list on Wunderlist.
09:20: start working up updates to a PDF document being created to demonstrate an online tool. Photoshop crashes.
10:05: reading some stories on Google Reader while InDesign exports latest version of the document.
10:15: phone call from a hotel after a conversation last night, send a couple of text messages to friends and realise I forgot to reply to my Dad last night too. My bad.
10:35: martin appears and asks if I'm intentionally late for meeting him. Nope. Just forgot. My bad (again).
11:05: finish chatting with Martin, update Wunderlist with new tasks and edit priority of others accordingly.
11:25: another read of Google Reader while InDesign exports another version of the document. Conversations with IT guys about streaming audio and video internally nudge my understanding forward, but not enough to give us a solution we're able to use right now. The conversations will continue once the key-person returns from holiday.
11:40: must be lunchtime soon. Phone a former McColleague to converse about stopping automated page-turning in PDFs.
12:30: I had been thinking about lunch earlier, but got sucked into finished another couple of jobs on the list.
12:45: send email to new MD responding to his email from 06:37 today.
12:50: really getting hungry now. Off to get some food and back to finish typing up notes from a meeting yesterday.
13:20: lunch inhaled and time to help out McColleague for a few moments.
13:55: phone call to Roller Blind supplier to clarify some things on a quote we got last night.
14:15: back to fixing the PDF, more crashing of Photoshop and InDesign resulting in a call to IT Service desk to ask for a new Mac. Or at least some way to get these applications to work properly.
15:00: Mac support people call and walk me though a remote fix for the issue. I follow the process and the guy will phone back in an hour and see how I get on. First image I try to save as an EPS causes Photoshop to crash. Grrrrr.
15:15: eventually get the PDF updated, navigation all working and passed over to the *customer* for comment.
15:30: check weather conditions on the Met Office website then train times for journey home. Wind in face for 15 miles won't be happening tonight.
16:00: get changed and head for the train station.
16:14: on the train with the bike.
16:25: laugh at ridiculous rendering of East Coast Trains website on iPad.
16:34: off the train and cycling home
16:38: home and putting the bike in the garage
16:40: family time. Yay!
17:00: oven on for dinner.
17:08: realise oven was put on wrong setting and adjust accordingly.
17:15: dinner in the oven.
17:30: Mrs theWeir away out for the evening with a friend. WeeWeir and I getting ready for eating.
17:40: weeWeir starts eating dinner
18:25: weeWeir is finished dinner
18:40: supper for the weeWeir
19:00: dancing around the living room with the weeWeir to "Get up" by James Brown.
19:15: weeWeir in bed and sleeping after teeth, book, prayer and thank you's
19:30: get things ready for going to work in the morning
19:49: Salesman from Blind Studio phones back to confirm details and we agree a price.
19:50: GCarter arrives for chat.
20:30: alarm goes off for blipfoto blog, GCarter retrieves remote control car. Photo is taken. Posted online here: eight-thirty
20:45: remote control car goes back in the box. Unbroken. Phew.
21:40: Mrs theWeir returns home. Cake is consumed.
22:30: GCarter goes home after good chat and a little prayer
22:55: book train journey on the iMac after earlier hilarity at website rendering
23:25: conclude notes on the day for archives
23:40: sleeping.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Candle in light

words? those three

The other day, I was reflecting on our use of the phrase "I love you" and asked for your thoughts. You cab read them in the comments here, but here's some picks.

The giving and receiving of love is the most precious thing we can do. There's nothing else that comes from the depths of our being and speaks about our humility.

Money is great

Things are useful

Food is amazing

Time is valuable

But if we give these things without love then we aren't doing anyone any favours, are we?

The challenge for me - and hopefully for you - today is what does it mean to say "I love you"? What does it mean to live "I love you". What does it mean to be loving even in the face of hatred, pain, suffering, anxiety or tears?

Monday, 9 May 2011

What does resurrection mean to you?

On Easter Sunday (yes, a few weeks ago now), we were asked if we wanted to share a little something about what Easter means to us.

Easter for me is about death and resurrection.

I didn't prepare anything. I didn't expect to have anything to say, but when the moment came, I was compelled to share a few words.

Through tears and trembling, I said something like:

Resurrection and Easter is about:

Hope where there was none
Peace when their is none
Life where their is none
Grace where their is none
Wholeness where their is none
Strength where their is none
Forgiveness where their is none

How about you?

PS: I love this little video about resurrection.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Vote. Again.

Last year, I was on the cusp of becoming all politically focussed and all that.

While I've always had an interest in politics (thank you Mrs Smith and Modern Studies), I get fed up with hyperbole. Ironic, innit?

I cast my vote through the medium of Royal Mail this year, first time and all that. It was with a little trepidation that I clicked on the link from Gareth that pointed towards the Scottish Vote Compass, answered a few questions and BOOM. I saw my political preferences summarised in a couple of tasty charts.

While some (I'm looking at you Mike McQuaid) may contest the viability of such a short set of issue-related questions being enough to state political preference with complete infallibility, it's a nice wee bit of fun and got me thinking about the issues.

So much of the coverage (other than Brian's excellent blog) has been about the leaders and their charisma. Or lack of it.

Here's my results.


How they related to my ballot papers I won't say.

But it was interesting nonetheless.

Especially given that the pdf downloaded from the site contained a different (and less engaging) chart:


And also this:


I like that the star indicating where I am on the economic & social circle is almost dead centre. Kinda says "come and get me, candidates, I'm a moderate...".

Where did you end up?

Monday, 2 May 2011

we don't have a clue what's going on.

The future. The undiscovered country. "Next".

As I read it today, I loved this cartoon on the XKCD: Future Timeline. It's an image showing top-ranked Google search results of predictions/claims for each year until 2101. I won't post the image here as it's *way* too big.

If we're honest, we're all control freaks - to a greater or lesser extent. I've come to this conclusion in recent days after conversations with loads of people. More often than not we want to be in charge. That might be through simply understanding what is happening, or by literally being in control of what is going on. I know I am guilty of this a lot of the time.

But what struck me as I chuckled through Future Timeline was that we really have no idea what's next.

Sure, we knew there was a lot of fuss being made about a wedding last week. We knew that there was a sunrise and a sunset. But we didn't really expect to see news reports like this, this or this.

I guess during the last few weeks, it's been all too apparent what it means to have faith. To trust that God is good and that his Love (and Mercy) endures forever. To believe that He is able to do things in and through us that we just can't do on our own. Like cope. Or overcome. Or keep walking. Or stand when there's nothing left to stand on.

And faith comes through hearing. What I hear impacts what I believe. For sure. But I'm not blindly following, but humbly listening for the voice of the Father. He speaks. Often I'm not listening. Often I'm too caught up in what might be, what needs to be done, what seems to be important. This turtle cartoon speaks right to the heart of that. If I loose a file on a computer, is it really that important?

Maybe tomorrow we can walk on water. Who knows. I'm not worrying about it. Because that won't change a thing.

As a friend once said; "every breath is mercy".

Keep breathing.


Friday, 22 April 2011

100 at 8:30

On Tuesday this week, I took blipfoto number 100 for my daily photography experiment, eightthirty.

Sometimes they are good shots, sometimes they are average. A little bit like life.

I'm aware that the blog here has been a little neglected as a result of my focus over there (and having other things to do in life), but I really enjoy the discipline of taking a shot every day to tell the story of that moment, that day or how I'm doing.

Check out eightthirty here.


Monday, 18 April 2011

signs of the times

I was on the way to walk the dogs the other day and stopped to take a few photos of these messages, sprayed onto the wall of a few buildings in Broxburn. They've been there a few weeks, maybe the owners of the buildings agree!

Dsc05599

Everything is connected

 

Dsc05608

Strange is truer than fiction

 

Dsc05591

Look beneath the surface

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Abbey Sanctuary


On Friday, my Father-in-law experienced a massive brain haemorrhage.

On Saturday, his body breathed it's last.

There have been many tears shed - and they won't be the last. But one thing is certain, Peter knew where he was going after his time on the earth was done. He is with His Saviour, whom he loved and served for 50 years.

I have so many things I could say about him, many words that could be written, but for now I say "thank you, Peter".


We will remember, and celebrate his life on Friday 15 April at Lorimer Chapel of Warriston Crematorium, Edinburgh. If you want to come, please don't wear a black tie.

If you want to find out more about Peter, read his blog.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

has been offline for a few days, enjoying family and few views like this:

Sharing just a couple of shots before going off the grid again.

It's great (and challenging) to be reminded of our fragility in the face of such grandeur. And yet we are loved.

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Give us your courage

In the last week, I've heard, read and watched a few things all about courage.

I re-watched the edition of Top Gear where the three protagonists drove through some of the most perilous conditions in Central America in fairly dubious vehicles. Say what you like about these guys, but it will have taken courage to drive in those conditions. Even if there were a support crew not all that far away.

Then at church on Sunday, we were challenged to consider what it means to have courage in your convictions. To stand for what (and who) you believe in. In that context, we were looking at Paul talking about the Hope of Glory - not simply an eternal thing, but a here and now thing. Courage it seems, is a lot easier when you have hope. Hope that God has your back.

Later on Sunday, I watched The Kite Runner. As is usual for me at the moment, there were tears. But there was also the appreciation of great storytelling and the need for courage in the face of injustice. And in the face of out-and-out fear. What makes people overcome that fear? Is it shame? Is it a need to make things right?


Then I saw this Indexed card yesterday.

There's often a courage needed to choose to not complain, but to learn.

To stop and listen (as the playgroup teachers encourage the weeWeir to do when they would like her attention).

And then the courage to take that learning and deliver something exceptional.

Like a life filled with hope.

Or a word of grace when it would be easier to shout and bawl.

To get back on the bike and go for it after we've fall off.

It's so often easier to just walk away.

But that's not going to help anyone in the long term. Is it?

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Dig for victory!

There's something cute about these posters I snapped at the Wartime Garden at Almond Valley Heritage Centre today.

I wonder sometimes if nostalgia for things of the war era (particularly for marketing (propaganda?) material like this helps or hinders as we deal with the horrors of war.

They seem so far removed from the history of holocaust and of torment. So perhaps they are more of a reminder that in the midst of such tragedy, there were people living amazing, sacrificial life.

Maybe they were inspired by these posters.

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Dilemmas

I went to the cinema with a friend a couple of weeks ago. Not Mrs theWeir, but the man who stood beside me when I married her.

We went to see The Dilemma. Neither of us knew what to expect. Both of us really enjoyed it.

What really struck me was how much it linked to a couple of situations that I've been aware of this week.

The big lesson - and challenge - I've felt this week has been about being willing to have the difficult conversations.

I've never really been one for confrontation. I'm sure I used to walk another way home from school when certain other pupils were going to be on the same way as me. I'd probably have run home rather than walking at the same time as people that I didn't want to spend the time with. It's not always about being afraid, but if I'm honest fear was a big part of it.

But that was then and I'm much older now. Still I have a hesitancy about confronting people or situations that I *know* need to be dealt with. Still it can be easier to find another way. To pretend it's not real. To pretend it'll be alright.

But it's really not okay to ignore the elephant in the room. It's not okay to run from your fear. Unless you have no confidence that it can and will end.

That there is another way that isn't running or denying or just carrying on.

Sure, there are times when confrontation isn't appropriate. In public isn't best. When emotion isn't kept in balance. When we're exhausted.

But whatever we aren't willing to talk about now will fester and ultimate eat us, our joy and our peace alive.

And we can stop that happening.

"No test or temptation that comes your way is beyond the course of what others have had to face. All you need to remember is that God will never let you down; he’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to help you come through it."

(the trailer may offend some... but not many)

Monday, 24 January 2011

I done wrote a blog

My good friend Mr Clive Parnell (@Parney on twitter and formerly known as Cliff Parcel, but that's another story) asked me to write a wee post for his blog. It's on create here.

What do you think - am I a blubbering idiot?

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Access no areas

At 7.30 one morning last year, I arrived at work and pressed my ID badge up against the reader. Nothing strange there.

Except, nothing happened. No green light, no revolving door. Nothing. The thin red light shone as bright as before.

I did the usual human trick of trying the same thing again (but turned the badge over). That was bound to work.

Nothing happened again. Same little red stripe of light looking at me dispassionately. (This was the right building, thanks for asking). And I wasn't made redundant the previous working day. Was I?

Something was clearly wrong. So I tried two other doors and the same thing.

On the way to the security guard I got to thinking. Have I been "deleted"? If the events of the previous two weeks are anything to go by, then anything is possible. There were a load of people put at risk of redundancy, but I wasn't one of them.

The experience got me thinking about what it means to have access.

And what it means to give access. Who has access to you? Who do I give access to my inner thoughts. My wife, my friends, my parents?

Should just
anyone have access to me? Is it better to isolate and avoid all the hassle? Probably not.

Aren't we born for relationship? We thrive in community settings - particularly when those are spaces of grace and make room for diversity.

It's either that or isolated introversion (is there any other kind?). That often leads to a calloused heart. Which we could all do without, I'm sure.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

water works.

I've found myself much more likely to cry recently. It's not an easy thing to say, but it's the truth. I'm sure I won't be the first person to say that, but there you are.

What points me towards precipitation? More often than not, it's stories. Stories about life, allegories intended to teach, hopeless and hopeful stories.

Our traditions of storytelling are many and varied, and the ones I connect with most obviously are probably films. But books do it for me too. In fact some recent songs have brought me to tears.

It's usually tales of reconciliation that get me the most. Of estranged family members reconciling. Of the lost child coming home. Of the proud parent realising that love is more important.

But it's the reality of the story that makes it all the more compelling for me. That doesn't mean it has to be in what we'd call the "real world", or in the present. But it has to be *real*. Which is something else, isn't it.

So it's good to weep. It helpful to admit that we aren't that pillar of strength - a rock that cannot be shifted. We are human, after all.

If it's great news or something devastatingly harsh, tears are alright.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Eight Thirty

After a few people suggesting I should get involved, I started to blip on my birthday.

I intend to post pictures taken at or as close to 8:30 each day (am or pm). I'm hoping it will be one way to express my three words for the year and also to get my thinking about photos more.

The blip journal is imaginatively entitled eightthirty. Such creativity...

Do you blip?

Monday, 10 January 2011

(The Meaning of Life - 10) = today

I have been blessed with many gifts today.

Air in my lungs, for a start. A beautiful family. A warm, dry place to live and a fun pace to work too.

Loads of Birthday greetings on my Facebook page. Thank you for each and everyone of them.

I got to spend some time with Henry today, for the first time in years. It was great to see him and share stories.

Life is always better with stories.

Some friends sent some fertiliser to South America on my behalf today too. Which was nice. But Oxfam told me where the gift was being given and the impact it had. Through the farmer's story.

Mrs theWeir made some glorious cake (though, technically, I have had that for a couple of days now). Sharing the cake with some folks has led to sharing stories. (Sorry, Mum, it may be all gone by the end of the night).

I got a wide array of gifts too. They made it into my first Blipfoto entry today.

But what really struck me today was Henry saying "wow, I didn't recognise you". It was a bit of a gift.

Why?

I don't want to be a carbon copy of myself year after year. I want to grow. I want to mature. If I don't then perhaps I'm not fully alive.

Being alive is really important.

Liam reminded me of these words last night:

"This is your life, are you who you want to be?". I think that today, I am more of the person I want to be than I was yesterday. How about you?


(here's the band playing the track in session)

Happy Birthday to me!

Mrs theWeir made me a cake.

Lemon cake, topped with pomegranate and pistachio. Yum.

Posted via email from theweir's posterous

Sunday, 2 January 2011

it'll only take a minute (and other excuses we tell ourselves)

When out doing a workshop at a local High School in December, I sat down at the computer workstation to perform a short series of simple tasks:

Insert USB memory stick;
Locate specific slideshow;
Launch that file;
Display the slideshow.

Easy. Quick. Done in a few seconds. Then I noticed the workstation. It looked like the picture above.

Other than when in the office at work, or working at home, most casual computing (searching for something, connecting on Twitter or Facebook, playing an online game) is done in an iPhone or iPad. So, I would usually only sit down at a computer to do a longer list of tasks. I would also make sure I was in a good sitting position.

But it wasn't always like that. I used to open the Powerbook just to check something and then still be there an hour later, locked in the same position. How many of us have thought "I'll just go on and do this wee thing and find ourselves off on a Google rabbit trail, or remembering there were 7 other things we *needing* to do on the computer. Funny that.

So it struck me looking at this workstation in a school classroom that when I next sit down to do anything for anytime, make sure you are sitting comfortably. Then you can begin. And have any hope of getting up again without a chiropractor...

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Three Words

I love you. (mostly)

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. (please do)

Drink TAB Clear* (eh?).

But this isn't about any of those sets of three.

Nope, this is about 2011. It's the first day of a new year and I'm not making resolutions, or rules I want to stick to in the year ahead. Rules for the sake of it aren't very life-giving. Inspired by what Chris wrote, here's my three:

Alive - Moments of life often slip by without noticing. Perhaps it's been the recent weather, holiday from work and Christmas season that's seen my watch more TV, do very little exercise and generally become a little passive. I'll be deleting a couple of games from my iPhone and hoping to be far more present - more alive in THIS moment. I owe it to people to be present and fully alive.

Growth - It's time to get some growing done again. 2010 felt like a season of pruning and maintenance. This will impact all of life, it's time to fail fast, learn and GROW. I'm hopeful there will be a physical sign of this in the garden at home too.

Proactive - Reacting is cool. Being flexible and helpful is great. I love it. But it's time to lead a little more. Not because I think I'm all that. Or that I've earned some right to do it, but it's just time for being more forward and less wait-and-see.

And that's me. Now to get some SMART goals and see what happens next.

What are your three words? Can you help me develop these three?

Grace and Peace for the journey.

W

* This is a reference to a claim that if you played the 1976 hit Combine Harvester by The Wurzels backwards, it said those three words...