Having finally managed to persuade the boys that they would both like to nap at the same time in the afternoon I have more time to do all kinds of things, including blogging, hence the relative plethora of posts this month.
And I'm glad about that because it gives me chance to mention something that I should have blogged about weeks ago. Not long after OB came back to live here I wrote a post called "10 Things I Haven't Done Much of Recently". I had fun writing that post, and appreciated the comments I got both here and on Facebook, but I forgot one very important thing.
You see, up to that point, one of the things I hadn't had to do much of - in fact hadn't done any of - was cook a meal. As OB landed and my world went crazy, all sorts of people suddenly starting turning up at my door with pots of food, frozen goodies and even picnic lunches. It was almost a daily event. And some of these offerings were so bounteous that they lasted us for several days.
I can't find the words to express how incredibly grateful I am for these many kind acts by many different people. Maybe it doesn't seem much, to make a bit extra and put it in an old ice cream tub for somebody, but to me at that time it meant that not only did I not have to face the daily task of looking in my store cupboard and wondering what tasteless, burnt offering I was going to eat that night (I'm a cook of variable success!) but it also meant that I hardly had to go shopping for food at all, at least until I had got the hang of getting the boys in the car, finding the twin-seated trolley buried among all the annoyingly single-seated ones, and choosing the best value yoghurt without inadvertently allowing the boys to pull all the cheese off the dairy shelf!
One of the things that amazed me about this was that, as far as I know, it was totally unco-ordinated. We do have a very good (and very much appreciated) rota system for taking meals round to people's homes when a new baby is born, but this wasn't that. It was just individuals seeing a need and responding out of the loving care in their own hearts.
Many churches have plans and schemes to encourage 'pastoral care'. Perhaps they have leaders who have been given special responsibility for this area. All well and good, especially if it means that everybody is included and nobody experiences the rejection of slipping through the net.
But how much more wonderful when, without being told to or put on a list or rota, people just respond to that prompting of the Holy Spirit to show love to their neighbour!
This week at housegroup we were talking about serving one another and there was some conversation about how busy people with families could balance serving others with spending the right amount of time at home caring for their own children, husbands or wives and extended family members.
Well, can I suggest as a start that next time you're making a big batch of cottage pie, curry or hotpot for your own tea, consider putting some extra in and popping over to someone else's house with a special delivery? We all know people who are elderly, disabled, unwell, lonely, tired, busy and in need. Your Stork tub full of chicken stew might just be the thing they need more than anything else in the world to make them feel loved and wanted.