Monday, 28 January 2013

Psalm 84

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young—
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.
Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.
Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
    listen to me, God of Jacob.
Look on our shield, O God;
    look with favour on your anointed one.
10 Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favour and honor;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose walk is blameless.
12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

I love it when one of the Psalms leaps out with something new that I have never noticed before.  A lovely lady at church a week ago came up to me with this one.  The bit that jumped was verse 6.  It is easy to think that when we are in dark, dry places, we have to wait till we have passed through it before we get to an oasis.  However in verse 6 it says that as 'they' pass through the Valley of Baka they make it a place of springs.  How amazing is that - tis what I am holding onto at the moment, let springs abound around me :o) x.

930. Watching our snowman gently melt over the week.
931. A very clean and fluffy puppy dog.
932. Books to read.
933. Hunger pangs, telling me I'm not eating too much.
934. Trousers becoming looser.
935. Recycling old shirts.
936. Watching my nearly 12 year old daughter play with her Build a bear Bunny, like she did when she was 6.
937. A keen wind whipping my face.
938. Swimming.
939. Getting home from swimming and having that longed for cup of tea.



Monday, 21 January 2013


Do you ever have that feeling that time has stood still or even gone back?  I really struggled through last week.  My mum spent most of it in bed, too depressed to get up and live and on Friday I discovered that my niece had been back in hospital all week after another quite serious attempt on her life - she is still not even 16!

This time last year my mum had just come out of a mental health unit after a psychotic episode of depression (lasting 3 months) after my father died and my niece was in a secure mental health unit. Note the similarities!

I do hope however that I might be in a slightly better place.  I hope I have 'grown' as a person.  A wonderful thing that has been blossoming over the last year has been our church.  We started a new service in January 2012, a four o'clock service, with a more relaxed and contemporary style to the more traditional services that take place in our two churches.  My husband was asked to be on the leadership team of the service, giving him a role which he has been struggling to find during the five years we have now been a part of the parish.  Since finishing my job as the children's and youth pastor in June, I have taken a total back seat and when I have managed to get to the services have just sat and received.  God has been so good.  In November a lovely lady followed up a nudge she felt from the Lord to set up a women's group during the day time and finally I am starting to feel as though I belong somewhere.  So yes I do think I am in a better place.  There are still some bad days when my body may ache a little more than usual and the dark clouds are overwhelming.  However there are far more days when I can get on with life and live it, looking forward to seeing what good things might occur in my days.

I am reading a book about Eric Liddell at the moment, a biography by David McCasland called Pure Gold.  I totally expected it to be mostly about his running career (him of Chariots of Fire fame), however two thirds of this book is about his life - his life as a missionary before being cut down too early in life by war.  His faith is simply remarkable.  There are lots of excerpts from letters and missionary reports that he wrote.  In one he quotes a poem that he received from a friend and I wanted to share it here:

Happiness is to have enough for the day's needs with always some to spare for those who have not.
It is to possess the love of friends and to have the knowledge that all is well with them.
It is to live in peace with all men.
Happiness is to have the strength to face with courage all that the day may bring.
It is to cherish the gift of laughter, to be quick to note all that is lovely and of good report.
Happiness is to find our joy in the common things of life for so will youth abide in our hearts till the end of our days.
Thank God for the gift of happiness.

(page 207) Eric Liddell:Pure Gold by David McCasland

With these thoughts in mind I continue to count my blessings with Ann Voskamp

920. The joy and surprise of my children playing a board game NICELY together (totally unprompted).

921. Sharing lunch and making new friends.

922. Watching my 13 year old get his wooden railway out and build a super track for a 2 year old.

923. Receiving a gift of spring tulips.

924. The joy of taking a 4 year old for a swim and getting her to take her armbands off for the first time.

925. The blanket of snow that covered our weekend.

926. Deliveries of yarn :o).

927. Ideas forming to create something for my daughter's birthday in March.

928. Enough food in the cupboards to make do over the weekend.

929. Christmas chocolates that melt on your tongue.



Monday, 14 January 2013


After a great week of making things the weekend has been a lousy one for my body.  I am also finding it very tiring to cope with my mum at the moment as her depression has a very firm hold.  This means I have to get used to phone calls about things that are disasters which turn out not to be or our swimming trips together being cancelled as she is going back to bed for the day.  I have tried to contact the community mental health services to let them know how things are, however there seems very little they can do.

Golly I do sound miserable!  Most definitely time to think of some of the blessings that have been poured down on me this week.

910. Beautiful colours being combined to make something new.
911. Copious cups of tea and chats with friends.
912. The smell of my daughters home baking.
913. Happy children at school.
914. A little bit of clearing and pruning in my front garden.
915. Getting to church even when not feeling well.
916. Click and collect shopping.
917. The smell of clean wet dog.
918. A squeaking Guinea pig.
919. A hot teddy to ease my back.



Friday, 11 January 2013

Loose Ends.

You may remember the other day in this post I talked about having to finish a crochet project (by the way if you would like to see the finished article then you can see it over on my other blog here) which involved tidying up a lot of loose ends.  Those scraps of loose ends have been sitting in a little pot next to me all week and have proved to be very thought provoking.

Loose ends are something you have finished with but are still hanging around.  Tidying up lifes loose ends is something I would really like to do.  In most cases it is just a mindful thing which is all that is required to tidy them up.  I just need to make the decision to put them away.  In other instances there are loose ends that I need to practically do something about.  Conversations with people that need to take place to put issues to rest.  This will be hard but I am praying that I might actually get the opportunities I need to do this in the near future.

I used some of these ends as the stuffing in some little heart key rings I made.  As I was stuffing them in I was challenged to think about whether I sometimes try and stuff the loose ends of my life into a little case and sew it up.  In principle I don't think there is anything wrong with doing this.  If something is finished with it is not healthy to keep it hanging around.  I suppose it is where you put them that is the  crux of the matter.  I love this picture of one of my hearts being stuffed.  It is now serving as a reminder to give my loose ends to God.  Any other holding place will end up wearing out or coming undone, spilling those loose ends back out.  In HIS heart they are going to be safe forever.  Those loose ends haven't disappeared, but they are safely put away.  They are even being used for another purpose - not being wasted.  That idea makes me smile alot.

Monday, 7 January 2013

Books, Prayers and Blessings.

I am having great trouble with bad dreams at the moment.  I am not aware of feeling particularly stressed, not eating strange food or anything else that I can think of.  Last night during a wakeful hour or two (there are plenty of those as well) I remembered a prayer that I had re-read just recently.  Here it is:

By the authority of almighty God, I tear down Satan's strongholds in my life, in the lives of those I love, and in the society in which I live.  I take into myself the weapons of truth, righteousness, salvation, the word of God and prayer.  I command every evil influence to leave; you have no right here and I allow you no point of entry.  I ask for an increase of faith, hope, and love so that, by the power of God,  I can be a light set on a hill, causing truth and justice to fourish.  These things I pray for the sake of him who loved me and gave himself for me.  Amen.

It is taken from Richard Fosters book, Prayer, which I reviewed many moons ago in this  blog post.  I was reminded of it by the book I am presently reading with a new womens group that has been started at our church.  This book is called God Loves Broken People (and those who pretend they're not).  You can click on the image at the top of this post to have a peek inside it.  We are not half way through the book yet so other than to say I am enjoying it I will not review it anymore until I have finished it.

I had said when sharing with the group that I was going to write this out to pray before sleep, following the example of someone in Shila Walsh's book.  Have I done it - No!  Typical, had totally forgotten about it, today however it will be written and placed on my bedside table!

continuing to count my blessings into 2013.

901. Children doing their chores without me nagging them.
902. Finishing a crochet project just for me.
903. Excitement growing about getting out into the garden, come rain or shine!
904. Routines re-starting.
905. A delivery of birthday cake.
906. A couple of hours or peace and quiet.
907. My brother playing the bad guy to my mum and getting results!
908. The sound of my husband mopping the kitchen floor.
909. Empying boxes out of the loft.



Sunday, 6 January 2013


Although Christmas has been very different (quiet) this year, I can honestly say I have absolutely loved having my children around me for the whole of Christmastide.  Too often it seems they finish school too early and you end up doing jobs for the days before Christmas day and then before you know it the New Year has come and they are back.  This year though they do not go back until tomorrow.  As my two get older it takes them longer to start to reconnect with each other after the business of their individual school term lives.  My husband and I looked at each other and rejoiced this week as we heard that connection occurring while they were playing a game together upstairs.

This morning feels like the first one in a very long time that I am alone in the house.  The children are playing in their band at our local Methodist Church and my husband is at work.  On this Epiphany morning how am I spending my time?  Thinking.  I'm munching on my toast, sipping my tea, tapping on my keyboard.  I shall shortly start tying and finishing off all the loose ends in my current crochet project (something for me!).

Tying up loose ends.  How many of these we have in our lives.  Some, it has to be said we cannot tie up ourselves.  But here is a thought, when I look at this crochet project with all it's loose ends, I know it is going to look great when it is finished.  If I then think of all the loose scraggy ends in my life it is very hard to believe that when God looks at me, he already sees that great finished me.  That is what Jesus has done for me, THAT is a miracle.  HAPPY EPIPHANY.

Thursday, 3 January 2013


I don't really do New Years resolutions.  I have read a lot about people have words to follow for the year and that has always rather attracted me.  In 4 years of blogging however I have never felt there was one word that summed up my hopes in myself.  This year however a word has been going round and round in my head all week.

Now I have been applying this word to a lot of things to do with the way I live and bring up my family.  

I am intentionally vegetarian, I don't just do it or bring my children up that way for no reason.  

I always attempt to be an intentional shopper, finding fairly traded goods and ethical, organic produce now happens on a daily basis on the majority of my shopping.

I have an intentional relationship with my husband.  After 16 and a half years we have discovered that listening is terribly important as is saying what you really mean to say.

It is this last point that has particularly got me thinking.  I do this with my husband, but do I do it with all those I am surrounded by all the time?  How often do I walk away from conversations thinking that I didn't really get across what I really wanted to say.

Now there are times I think when it may be more prudent to intentionally ignore, rather than labour a point which is never going to be understood.  However with those to whom I am closest I do feel I could be doing a little better.  Too often I go around the houses or just stay quiet rather than say what I really mean - leaving too many opportunities to be misunderstood.

So they you have it, I am now praying and hope you will join me in trying to put it into practice more and more.