Wednesday, 30 December 2009


Along time ago (more than 10 years), I was being prayed for by a wonderful sister in Christ called Ginny, I cannot remember why she was praying for me but my husband was with me.  Before we parted she told me that she saw me as having a life like Miriam.  I don't know whether I looked into this much at the time, I had quite forgotten about it until my husband out of the blue mentioned it to me the other day.

So the last few days I have been reading about her in the Bible (there is not alot in there) and reading some on-line notes that have been written about her life, a very good brief snapshot is given here .  In some ways it is suddenly quite frightening, in other ways quite re-assuring.

I have had a life full of many fantastic blessings and experiences, it has also been punctuated by some very painful experiences.  I am sure it is not unique and many people experience the same.  What I am sure about is all these experiences need to be pondered to consider the way forward.  Miriam made mistakes, I most certainly have done that, however she learnt from them, her faith was strengthened by them and her leadership qualities remained strong.

I am hoping that this is a quality of Miriam that I can have - the ability to learn from mistakes and have my faith strengthened on the journey.

The more frightening aspect of Miriam is her final fate, she never reached the Promised Land with her brother Moses.  Along with her other brothers she perished in the wilderness.  However I can hang on to another aspect of her life that I found out about at this site although she died in the wilderness in a place where there was no water, "Immediately after her death, God gave abundant water to the people, in the form of a spring". Maybe I will be one of the many people who do not make a lasting mark while living but maybe if I can stay faithful to God I might just be able to leave behind a legacy that will continue to refresh others - quite a mind blowing way to start a new year me thinks.

Monday, 28 December 2009

Trying to be Me

For a little time now I have been wanting to change the title of my blog, this last year has been a year of finding myself.  I have to say, I think I might have jolly well done so!  therefore having the title trying to find me just no longer feels appropriate, hence my new title 'Trying to be Me'.
Now I have no idea if this is going to mess folks google readers up or not, if it has then I apologise - though you may not know that I am doing so!

So as I continue to enjoy this Christmas time, and look forward to a new year (and my blog anniversary) I feel like a little change and hope you might come along for the ride.

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Finding some space.

Last Saturday we celebrated Christmas with my mum and dad who drove the 140 miles from the midlands to stay with us. It is the first time I have every cooked a Christmas lunch for them (though could not have done it without mums help). We opened presents just from each other, went for a lovely walk around the wooded areas of our estate. But it was strained, when someone you love is missing the hole just sits there raw and throbbing. For me this second Christmas without my sister is painful but so far better than last year. I have had the time to enjoy doing and making Christmassy stuff. For my mum, this year she is 'feeling'. Last year the pain was numbing and with house clearing and stuff to do she just drifted through it with my dad.

The culmination of emotions hit a low on Saturday evening and I ended up going to bed at 8.30pm. This did give me time to think and pray about how we could move on the following morning. The idea that came into my head was to go to a little place that I know in the New Forest. It is only a 20 minute car ride from our house it is a little off the normal touristy stopping bits, it used to be an old airfield. When you finally get to the car park this is the sight that greats you:

It is one of those places that I had always wanted to take my sister to, as she was an avid bird watcher and we have been with friends and had tiny birds come and eat from our hands at this point. Just me, my niece and my mum and dad went armed with a big tin of bird seed. It was just perfect. We all found some space.

I made friends with several of the New Forest ponies, one young foal experiencing her first winter kept following me as I hobbled away.

My niece and I both stayed still and tried to entice the little birds to come feed from our hands, alas not this time.
My mum remembered that she had been here before. It must have been on one of the odd occasions in years past when my parents came down with my sister and her daughter and they took my children out for the afternoon to this very spot.
I shall definitely be going back, this is my space to remember my sister close to home. I am very grateful to my daddy for taking these pictures for me.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Our Christmas Tree

When my husband and I were dating we used to belong to a fabulous home group where we were fed, watered and nurtured by an extremely loving American couple. In fact my wedding dress was made upon their dining table (it was the only one big enough!). I used to love their Christmas decorations, their tree was covered in all sorts of decorations and they explained to us the tradition that they had grown up with where a new ornament was placed on the tree every year.

We had been married for 7 months by the time we had our first Christmas together. However our very first decoration was acquired on our honeymoon! We were passing through Monterrey in California and saw a Christmas shop and just could not resist getting this decoration.

As you can see 13 years later the salt dough is not fairing too well, but it started our collection of tree decorations.

Every year at least one new decoration has been added, I have a few more that I thought you might like to see,

this one was to celebrated the first Christmas of our first child.

these ones I made for my 2nd child's first Christmas, pictures of the pair of them which I popped into little craft frames and hung on with ribbon.

Of course since the children have come along there have been lots and lots of homemade decorations made, these are two different angels that I got all the children in our Junior church making many years ago.

This beautiful pair are from America again, this time we were seeing some of New England in the 'fall' and happened upon a Christmas shop and found these lovely clay angels.

It has been a real delight the last few years when the children have gotten old enough to appreciate some of the more delicate decorations and have joined in decorating the tree. They love to hear the stories of where different decorations have come from and have a good giggle at the ones they have made. This year will be our 2nd Christmas with our eldest since her mummy died. Last year she was just a 'guest', this year she is part of our nuclear family. She did not want to help decorate the tree and took some time out by herself while the younger two took part.

However I was very relieved when she came back in and joined us to have the honour of putting the angel on the top (the other two have never done this as they are not tall enough!). With all the Christmas cuddly toys, hats and bits lots of fun was had and we managed to get a lovely family photo (once husband had worked out how to do the self timer on his camera).

Happy Christmas from us all to you x x x x x

Friday, 11 December 2009

When do you pray?

After a funny and very honest conversation with my husband this morning I thought I would try and get some of it written down. We don't often get chance to do this but have been trying to get into a more regular pattern of praying every day with each other (we have two set times aiming to do at least one of them depending on his shift pattern).

I had, had a rotten nights sleep (seems to be the norm at the moment), one of the things that I found myself thinking about was prayer. I had had a lovely couple of days doing stuff that I wanted to do (am making a lot of Christmas presents as I have the time this year). What suddenly struck me was how little I had prayed or given thanks to God! I had given plenty of praise to those around me who were making this possible (my children and husband), but not The One!

That left me thinking - how come when things are dire and I am feeling stressed I can live my days in His Arms, often finding Peace and managing to get through my day. Then I can have other days like the last couple, they were lovely days but when I look back on them they feel as though they were a bit Godless.

After telling my husband about this he has a similar feel about his days with/without God. They have different slant to mine but he is left with a similar feeling. I have to confess I do feel a little relieved that he told me that. I'm not going to beat myself up about this but am glad that I have been shown it. Maybe from now on there is a chance that I will catch myself when I am running into one of those thankful days and remember to thank Him who deserves it as well as those that surround me physically who need to hear it.

I am also quite certain that the quandary would also be minimised if I spent my new 'Time' with a new set pattern of prayer and quiet time to suit it. I'm not rushing to do this, the prayer time with hubby is a good start. Any suggestions would be very welcome!

Friday, 4 December 2009

Where I am at.

I can't believe a whole week has gone by without blogging once, in fact I have hardly thought about blogging - except for thinking I'm not doing it!

I have been feeling rather tongue tied for the last month or so really as I made a decision back at the end of October which has put life into a rather different light. Trying to return to work as a children and youth Pastor for our local Parish did not work. I am mentally and physically still quite a wreck. I know the time of year has not helped with it being the first anniversary of my sisters death, but my knees are still bad and are causing more difficulties to occur in my ankles and my back. Taking on my sisters 12 year old has also been far more challenging than I could ever have imagined. She is dyslexic and is currently being assessed for ADD (attention deficit disorder) which she may need medication for, this on top of her obvious emotional difficulties following the death of her mother! So I approached our church wardens and requested 6 months unpaid leave, if they hadn't been happy to grant this then I would have handed in my resignation.

Having work on top of all these other issues was just too much. It is a horrible feeling to be constantly feeling like I was failing in all areas. It felt so unfair on the people of our parish who pay my wages for me not doing the job. Overnight I felt God reminding me that he wanted to grant my heart desire (Psalm 37:4). That threw up another question to me - what was my hearts desire? After much prayer and searching I realised that what I wanted most of all was to feel as though I was doing something well! It was obvious that I could not do my job well and help my family well at the same time. So the decision was made to make the request that I did to our wardens (this is because I church has been in an interregnum all year so I have not really had a boss!). Fortunately they jumped at the opportunity of me NOT resigning and so I am now officially on unpaid leave!

The relief that I have had since doing this, though it is going to make our finances extremely tight, has been immense. Maybe what I shall do in the weeks to come is make a (small) list of things that I would like to also achieve in this time! In the mean time, it feels like the family is already coping better (or I am with it!). I am really looking forward to enjoying this advent season and quite excited about Christmas this year. Blessings to you all, love Jane x.