Saturday, 31 December 2011

Helping people with a chronic illness.

I have just read this blog and think it puts so eloquently what I would like to say about having a chronic illness that I am not even going to try and use my own words.  The post is all about how people can care for others with a chronic illness.  Fortunately my rheumatoid arthritis has not giving me too much hassle pain wise this last year.  However it is still there, I am still taking lots of very toxic drugs, I still have to be very very careful about how much I do as exhaustion comes very quickly.  This means that apart from my walking stick that I use my illness is quite invisible on the whole.  If you are interested in knowing how you can help people with a chronic illness then do look at Amy Danielle's blog post here. It is a really helpful read.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Be Strong - No!!!!!!!!

Be strong is another of those injunctions that I am trying to get over.  I have spent my life being strong and has my mother and look where that has lead her (a mental health unit) - do I want to go the same way?

I have been reminded this morning my that Still Small Voice of Corinthians 12:10

I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and difficulties for Christ's sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.   (Good News Bible)

Now I wish I could say that I am content with weakness, but my natural earthly desires are to BE STRONG, which means I have to FIGHT weakness, that immediately puts me into a no win situation.  That means I am belittling Christ on the cross.  If I can do it in my strength why did He die for me???

If only it were as easy as repeating Paul's words with my lips to make my heart believe those words.  Living in the world where people do not know or trust God means I am surrounded by those who really do think the only way through hardship is BEING STRONG.

Today I am going to try and accept my weakness, to accept my inability to put things right, to accept that I can not control what other people say to me or put on me.

Maybe I will then feel the STRENGTH of CHRIST RISING.  The STRENGTH of the RISEN KING.  The STRENGTH of the LORD OF LORDS.  The STRENGTH of the one that has DEFEATED DEATH.

Thursday, 1 December 2011


I have been learning lots of new language in the last few months.  Mainly as the result of going to see a counsellor for the first time.  The one that keep coming back again and again through each session is injunctions.  Now I know the definitions of this word and I am sure that I have used it on occasions, however not in the context of feelings and emotions.

Many of the injunctions that we hear as we are growing up are very regularly used by lots of parents and are well needed - 'Don't do that' can stop a child sticking their fingers in a plug socket.  These are injunctions that we all learn from.  However I have discovered the biggest injunction (an authoritative warning or order) that I ever received that has really restricted my personal growth was 'STOP SHOWING OFF'.  I am sure that I am not the only child that had this said to them.  My problem is that it was said to me all the time, in front of all sorts of people.  Until I have started to really think about what this injunction means, it was just one of those phrases that if I ever heard it made me shrink inside.  So what does 'stop showing off' mean to me:

Don't do that you are embarrassing me.
Stop expressing yourself that way.
That is no way to behave.
No-one is going to like you behaving like that.

All these can be summed up in three words to me - stop being you.  You see, I am naturally extrovert, I don't mind being the centre of attention.  In fact I often thrive on it.  How sad that it has taken me 43 years to get to the point that I can accept this part of me.  I have probably ended up craving far more external validation that is actually healthy just because of this in juncture being so repeatedly handed out as I was trying to find out who I was for myself.

It is a very hard phrase to get rid of, there have been a few occasions when I have even found myself saying or about to say it to my children.  I feel so very grateful to the dear friend who once quietly pointed out to me that I had said it as an adult (in front of my mother to my children).  She did it with such grace knowing how deeply wounded I have always felt by the words.  And I am absolutely positive I have never even considered using it again since.  I have just tried Googling the phrase only to find it filled with really negative expressions.  If people didn't 'show off' how would we get to enjoy the art that other people are able to express by showing it off?  All writers would keep their books in their heads, all artists their pictures, all actors their skills of expression - what a dull and lacking world we would live in. 

So I have decided if you have an urge to 'show off' then do it!

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Seasonal Blessings.

Somehow Monday seemed to come around too quickly, however with all the good stuff God has been showering on me I could not bear to let the week begin (even if it is on a Tuesday) without writing down some blessings.

670. Cosy bed, cosy duvet, cosy pillows, twisted and pummelled to be in just the right place for my aching body.
671. A book coming through the letterbox.
672. A thank you note that melted my heart.
673. The beginning of Advent, a time to stop, watch and wait.
674. Complete peace over unconsumerising Christmas this year.
675. The bread maker quietly working away in the kitchen.
676. Blustery winds trying to take the many remaining leaves from the trees.
677. My window cleaner asking after my mum.
678. The many children I am getting to speak to about Advent and God's promises.
679. Writing advent cards to our many God-children.

Happy Advent Season to you all x x x x x

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Just the tonic.

Now those of you that know me well - I am not talking about the sort of tonic that I like to have with my gin!!  Thank you so much for all your prayers over the last few days.  I have felt your support, it has got me through a very busy few days at work. 

I have ended up in bed this afternoon with a body that is very un-happy.  I have felt a flare of my rhematoid arthritis to be on the way all week and have just tried to ignore it.  It is amazing how with a bit of mind over matter this can actually work for a while.  However everything has it's limit and I am very thankful to God that he shows me mine before I completely crash.

So swallowing my pride I have taken to my bed, I have read a little, I have snoozed a little, I have felt sorry for myself a lot!  In the quietness though that Still Small Voice managed to pierce my wallowing.  I was reminded of a facebook chat that I had with a dear friend this week when I was at a very low ebb.  She had mentioned some youtube videos that she had been watching and found really helpful on her quest for a better self image.  This is a quest that we both share.  The person she mentioned was Joyce Meyer.  One of those names that seems to always ring a bell in Christian circles but I can never quite remember whether I have read any of her books or not.  I now know that I have never listened to her speak.

This lady speaks with such passion and this video especially (though all three parts are excellent) was just the tonic that I needed to hear this afternoon.   I have let my lovely husband metaphorically wash my feet this afternoon, something that I don't always find comfortable to do, however the pain killers are now kicking in.  I might even be able to get up before I go back to bed tonight!  If you have the time to listen to some of this ladies videos then I encourage you to do so.  The advertising gets a little tiresome, but the teaching is worth bearing with it.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Spirtual Attacks.

I have had a really bad today, after a really fabulous evening last night with the volunteers who have come forward to help me with a children's activity day at church which is happening this coming Saturday.

My husband and I have had a really tough week communicating with each other after spending lots of time together working for Jesus last weekend.

As I am watching and participating in an amazing movement of God in our area,  my family (outside of the 4 of us) is falling apart.

I would really value some prayer from those of you who Believe.  I realise that some people might feel very uncomfortable reading this and may not even understand what I am writing.  However I think I may have been keeping quiet on this issue for too long.

So now I am shouting it out - it feels very self indulgent, but I know my Faith needs the support of fellow believers.  Many thanks x x x x x

Monday, 21 November 2011


I have been working abroad this weekend - doesn't that sound grand!  I was asked to go and do a children's group (with my hubby) for the Armed Forces Christian Union who were having a ladies weekend for military women and wives.  I was asked back in the summer and despite all recent events really felt the need to go and do this.  We were at Church House in Lubbeckke in Germany.  The sleeping accommodation was typical forces, though the building was old and had a very interesting history.  The food on the other hand was amazing, 3 cooked meals a day available, all eaten in a room designed by a naval architect, who had managed to make you feel as though you were in a ship!  Every morsel eaten with silver cutlery and deserts out of silver bowls - what decadence!  It turned out that there were only 5 children registered to come along and when we arrived this had shrunk to 4, a set of 8 year old twins and a 9 year old with a 4 year old sister.  Because of the number it was a very demanding time however meeting lots of lovely Christian ladies and spending good quality time with my husband was great. 

It was hard work to get out of bed this morning to get on with my real life jobs, at work and home, but continue with gratitude I will:

660. Central heating.
661. Sparkling stars on clear nights.
662. Happy children and therefore happy mums.
663. The opportunity to plant (spiritual) seeds.
664. The opportunity to water (spiritual) seedlings.
665. Watching children playing hide and seek.
666. Feeling Gods Spirit moving in and around me.
667. A lift to the airport.
668. Listening ears.
669. Sitting drinking coffee watching the world go by.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Back to Basics

It has been far too long since I wrote down any weekly blessings.  This is a practise that I have been doing since 5th January 2010 following the example of Ann Voskamp (click the link at the bottom of this post) - you can see that first post here.
My dear husband pointed out to me the other day that it was a long time since I had written any down.  How quickly our eyes can be distracted by life, so today I will start again to count my many blessings.

650. Opportunities to travel.
651. My lovely little car staying healthy!
652. Having a quick lunch in the car between jobs, but having the most amazing view.
653. Hugs from friends.
654. An evening to catch up on some favourite tv programmes.
655. Brilliant autumn colours in the middle of November.
656. My growing wave patterned crochetted blanket.
657. Time to gather promises from the bible.
658. Creative ideas swirling in my head.
659. My 10 year old girl's growing sense of humour and the laughter that it brings.

I am so pleased to be able to get these down.  It does help to try and keep our woes in context.  There are amazing things happening as well.  Work is providing me with the opportunity to get immersed in some really fun activities - maybe I might actually get round to blogging about some of those over on my work blog!

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Sorting out Emotions.

There has been so much going on in our household which has caused all of our emotions to be all over the place.  This morning I finally got the chance to sit down with my 10 year old daughter (well lie actually, I was still in bed)!

When you are struggling as an adult to cope with your own emotions it is so easy to overlook the emotions of those you love most.  They do not yet have the maturity to choose a way of letting you know this either.  As adults we can express overload even if it is not in the most helpful way, however at 10 years old life experiences have not yet given you the ability to recognise when you are overloaded.

I had noticed this with my daughter a few days ago.  One of her friends had chosen to do something really amazing for a charity close to her heart - her "Daddy in Heaven" (she was only 3 months old when he died),  had died from cancer.  She is at that stage in her life (she is nine years old) where she is starting to realise that she missed out on knowing who this person was (her older brother does have some memories).  My daughter knew that her friend doing this was stirring uncomfortable feelings inside her.

I saw this acted out by her not particularly wanting to talk about what her friend was doing, getting cross that she had been asked by another friend to sponsor when as a family we already had and then not wanting to look at the photos of the event happening.

She was feeling bad as the only emotion she could recognise was jealousy and yet she did not want to feel jealous.  As we chatted it became very apparent that she did not particularly feel the need to raise money for charity.  She understands well that we sponsor a child and 'give' regularly not just on a monthly basis but also on special occasions like Christmas when we only give very small pressies to each other but shop from places like 'Oxfam Unwrapped' for folks we don't know personally.

We then got on to talking about what it would be like to not have a daddy, which inevitably brought us into a conversation about my niece who lived with us for two years.  Her daddy has clearly shown he does not love her and is probably the main reason why she is now in a secure adolescence unit.  This part of the conversation inevitably brought up sadness for my daughter thinking of all the losses she has suffered in the last three years, her aunty dying, her grandpa dying, her grandma's sanity and her cousin leaving us and my poor health.  She was able to express how jealous she felt of her friends who were not going through the things she is  - a feeling I was able to share with her that I get too!

She did not need any reassurances other than acknowledgement that she was having to cope with an awful lot at the moment and yes on the surface it did seem that none of her friends were.  It was a good feeling when she was however able to identify what trials some of her friends were facing - especially the divorce of parents  something that she could not and does not want to imagine having to face.

That was probably the most productive 30 minutes we have spent together in a while, I know it has not 'solved' everything for her, but it is good to see her bouncy self back again this morning.

Friday, 11 November 2011


If it hadn't been for the second world war I would not exist. 

I say that with no pride, no self pity, just a fact.  There is never a day goes by without me Remembering the sacrifices that many innocent people had to make in the past during times of war.  However it also means I have to continually remember the unwise choices that some made under the circumstances of war that they were involved.

So how can this be?  My mum was conceived by a very young German woman falling in love with an English soldier in 1946 when they were still present in Germany.  She is a War Baby.  His posting ended and he returned to England and no proper contact was ever made again, even when my mum was then "orphaned" by the death of her mother when she was 6 years old.

The ravages and fall out of war reach into every single area of life.  And in every place that these ravages touch, death of some kind is brought about.

There are/were thousands (probably hundreds of thousands) of War Babies.  Children brought into a world struggling for peace, in many places bringing with them shame and damage that will last a life time.

In forty minutes time I will take special time out not only to be remembering the sacrifices that thousands of men made, I will be remembering the thousands more lives that were damaged forever by the action of war.  This will then turn my thoughts back to the present and give me the determination to play any part I can in making my voice heard to bring the Peace which passes all understanding into my world.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

Standing Firm

               Photo taken by my 10 year old daughter in Barcelona 2 weeks ago.

The turmoil still rages around me and my family this week.  Dad's sudden death 4 weeks ago tomorrow seems to have been pushed away in my thoughts as meetings have taken place this week both for my niece and for my mum.

My niece is now under a court order to be retained in a secure unit for adolescents.  It's an unusual step for the authorities to take but as she is not classed as having a mental illness (she is just very damaged by her upbringing) it is the only way they can keep her safe.  Outside of being secure she is very likely to continue running away from any residence she is placed in and self harming to the extent that she needs hospital treatment.  My husband and I are now the only people that she has contact with and she is using the power that gives her.  This week we travelled over 2 hours to go and see her and whilst she allowed us to be in one meeting, the more important one she chose to not have us present.  This hurts, though I realise we were the only people not being paid to be at the meeting and the only people she could really exclude.  I am now praying over the next steps to take, she hasn't called us since that meeting whereas she had been calling every night up until then for a couple of weeks.

My mum is still in the throws of her nervous breakdown, she is hallucinating and very very paranoid.  It is very difficult to cope with visiting her, seeing her being really nasty to the staff trying to help her.  She has been in hospital for almost a week now and it is going to take some time for the medication to start working for her.  

But there has been moments of light as well.  My wonderful husband took myself and a great friend to a music concert the other night.  This was made even more special my the artist (Thomas Dolby) coming into the small independent restaurant that we were eating in to eat himself before the show.  And yes husband did have to go and have a few words :o).  I have had contact from some lovely friends and extended family that I haven't been in touch with for a very very long time.  Knowing so many people at church as well as my friends and family are praying is really helping.

One conversation I had with my Fairy Godmother (also known as my Christian mum as she has nursed and nourished me with scripture since I first became a Christian) told me to look at 2 Chronicles 20 during our conversation.  Particularly these verses:

15 He said: “Listen, King Jehoshaphat and all who live in Judah and Jerusalem! This is what the LORD says to you: ‘Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. 16 Tomorrow march down against them. They will be climbing up by the Pass of Ziz, and you will find them at the end of the gorge in the Desert of Jeruel. 17 You will not have to fight this battle. Take up your positions; stand firm and see the deliverance the LORD will give you, Judah and Jerusalem. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged. Go out to face them tomorrow, and the LORD will be with you.’”

It is an amazing thing that I have been looking at promises in the bible for a craft project and a work activity day that I am preparing for.  This has taken me into the theology of looking at the promises made in the Bible for ALL people and those that were given to specific people.  However it made me realise through the conversation I had which brought up these verses that God still wants us to listen and learn from the promises that he has made to other people.

So these words that were given to King Jehosphapat are remaining my comfort this week.  They are keeping me going, standing firm.  It is so very reassuring that by doing nothing other than my ordinary stuff I may just see the deliverance of the Lord as Jehosphapat did.  I can only pray that I don't continue to fall like he did as well!

Friday, 4 November 2011

The versatile Blogger Award

I won an award!!!!!!!!!

The lovely Ray over at Daydreamer awarded me this:

Thank you!

I'm pleased to hear that my blog comes across as trying to stay positive against a tide of problems, it certainly does not always feel that way - and oh what Joy I will have when the tide recedes!

Now as I understand it, I have to tell you 5 quirky facts about myself and then nominate 5 more bloggers - 5 quirky facts, now there is a challenge, as I have so many!!!!!!!!!!!

  1. In my first job as an office junior when I was 17, if I got all my office work done I was allowed to go and 'play' with the plastic bag making machines!
  2. I have sat in the jump seat in the cockpit of a Boeing 747 jumbo jet coming in to land at Los Angeles airport - very scary.
  3. I have travelled across the Atlantic to Boston, to meet a fellow blogger for the first time this January.
  4. I have to have certain cups for certain drinks at certain times of the day!  15 years on my husband is finally starting to get the hang of it.
  5. I once bumped into Robson Green (an English actor) when he was doing some filming at the hospital where I worked as he was on his way to a break, I couldn't resist saying 'that's looks nasty' to his 'blood' splatted bandaged head and body.
And my five blogs nominated to receive this award.

  1. Navigating By The Stars - the blog that got me started blogging in the first place.  Gaynor is a fab friend and an inspired home-schooler.
  2. 10 Minute Writer - the Boston based home-schooling, novel writing, amazing Christian witness, very funny and creative mother of five gorgeous offspring.
  3. Dutch Sisters - A blog that inspires my creativity and gets me starting projects before I have finished the last one :o).
  4. Holy Experience - A truly God inspired Blog - what more can I say.
  5. Scraps of Starlight - Another creative and God inspired blog with beautiful photographs and simple creative things to do with children.

I could list so many more, but will restrain myself for now, I love this blog world x.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

10 Life lessons learnt this week.

  1. Suddenly being widowed at the age of 65 when you left home and married at 18 can be the last straw in keeping your sanity.
  2. If you do not know a little of how the NHS and more specifically the mental health services work accessing their services is far too complicated.
  3. You cannot always trust your neighbours.
  4. It doesn't matter how many friends you have, the ones that catch you when you are falling are worth more than gold.
  5. In the midst of chaos you can choose to put your spouse and children first and make them very happy.
  6. Reflecting on the book of Job in the Bible is a good way to keep slogging on when the going is tough.
  7. Dogs emotions are soon affected by the people around them, but are quickly stabilized if you have loved them well from the beginning.
  8. If the occasional waft of cigarette smoke is able to make you want one, immerse yourself in the company of a heavy smoker and you will soon loose your craving.
  9. 10 year old girls can show love for their 12 year old brothers no matter how much they bug each other.
  10. You have to work hard at having no regrets.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

My Daddy

We have had a horrible 10 days in our house.  My dear daddy died very suddenly from an aortic aneurysm on the 7th October aged 66 years old.  I live 140 miles away and had no chance to say good bye.  Yesterday was his funeral and here is a copy of the eulogy that I wrote for my husband to read out at the crematorium.  My way of saying good bye.

Colin Richard Budworth was born on the 12th June 1945. The youngest of 4 children to Ada and Stan Budworth.  

Derbyshire born and Derbyshire bred, thick in the arm but most definitely not in the head.  We have loved listening to Dad’s tales of his adventures as a boy helping his Dad out with jobs, singing in the church choir and listening to the Goon show with his brother, sharing an ear piece to listen while they were in bed.

As a young man he took on his apprenticeship with the railway with all seriousness.  He still knew how to take time out to enjoy himself though, going camping in the dales with friends and even a holiday trip abroad in his first little van with a friend.

Then of course there was  that fate filled holiday he took with his friend Ken to the Isle of Wight – Ventnor to be exact.  I now know that it was most definitely love at first sight.  How do I know this, not because mum has told me but because I have had the great honour of being allowed to read the love letters that he started to write on the train home from that holiday to my 16 year old mum.  This was the summer of 63.  By the spring of 64 mum moved up from Kingston upon Thames to Derby to be just a few doors away from his home.  That is when the written letters stopped but when the love story had really only just started.

Dad finished his apprenticeship, they got married and the world was their oyster.  In fact they actually got married and then he finished his apprenticeship, even though Dad’s mum wrote a very loving letter to mum saying that they should really wait until afterwards.  At 19 and 18 they grew into being adults together.   Right to the end my dad adored my mum and  I am sure you all know that the feeling was absolutely mutely.  46 years of marriage might sound a lot but I know my mum would have loved to have had a little more time.

You all know that dad was an absolute master craftsman, a cabinet maker extraordinaire.  His creations have adorned the homes of members of the Beetles been sold in shops as grand as Harrods, and adorned stately homes.  It might have taken my mum 17 years to get her coffee table from him, but boy was it worth waiting for.

Another thing you might not realise is that my dad was a pioneer.  This is on a subject that is now written about, talked about on the radio and generally accepted as a basic need for all men.  What is this thing you might think – His Shed.  As kids once home from his day job, he would disappear off into his shed for a couple of hours before tea.  If anyone telephoned, you said he was in the shed and that was that.  If anyone came to see him, they knew they would have to go and talk to him in his shed.  Of course dad was not disappearing into his shed to just get away from it all, as the modern notion now takes you, he was working.  This was not just to keep mum, john me and Sally, but also to help fulfil his dream of having his own business – even if he didn’t realise this at the time.  It was one of the many occasions that mum managed to cajole him into doing what he really wanted to do.  My memories of my dad working away in his workshop will stay with me forever, never was there a happier man than my dad in his workshop in Shardlow.

There has been too much heart ache this last few years.  Dad’s stroke 18 months ago was an indicator to us of how much strain he had been under.  However nothing has prepared us for him leaving us so quickly.  We have some comfort in knowing that he died painlessly and peacefully but it does not stop our hearts from breaking at the thought of continuing in life without him.

But continue we will because we know that is what he would have liked to see, he would be so proud of how mum is coping so far.  It is also a comfort to know that his five grandchildren have all had the opportunity to get to know their grandpa and they will treasure their memories as we do ours.

I hope you are all able to treasure your memories from all the different parts of dads life that brought you into contact with each other.  He was and is and always will  be a remarkable, one in a million to us.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011


We have been having a couple of quiet weeks at home for a change.  My counselling has started - now I knew that would be hard work but hadn't quite expected it to be as hard as it is!

I have been quietly crafting, doing a little crochet, a bit of beading and a little more crochet.  Work has been busy so I have been saying 'no' to a lot of social invitations.  My energy levels are still very low and my mood up and down like a yo yo but we are quiet.

My niece has been in touch by email, so we now know where she is, this has taken some stress away.  She sounds happyish and I am sure we will go and see her, however we are not rushing.

We have been experiencing some extraordinary weather this last week which we have managed to take advantage of.  My other half and I went and spent a most luxurious 3 hours by the sea while the children were at school last week.  That is where the photo at the top of the page was taken.  When we got there we had the beach to ourselves:

I took a book but spent the whole day watching the water
 The tide slowly moved in, we even had to move twice!

 I found it totally mesmerising.

 And I think my puppy dog had fun to - she does like to find a feather!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Home Produce

Can it really be Monday again all ready!  I managed to get out in the garden last week for the first time in a very very long time.  My vegetable patch was completely overgrown with pumpkin vines crawling their way across the paved areas.  It was very very pleasing to discover on cutting it all back that we did actually have pumpkins and some cucumbers as well - I had presumed those plants had been suffocated by the pumpkin plants!  Once again my gardening plans have been thwarted somewhat by the goings on at home, never mind, there is still things to enjoy for now and there are always next years plans :o)

Continuing to count my blessings with Ann Voskamp.

640. Pumpkins growing in the garden, small but perfectly formed.
 641. A basket of prodice to take into the kitchen and enjoy.
 642.  Views to admire.

 643.  An abundance of pink in the garden.
 643.  Beautiful scents still rising in the evening.
 644.  Strawberries - for the second time this year.
 645.  Happy children getting out and about with the daddy, what ever the weather.
 646.  The joy of an obediant (most of the time) puppy dog.

647. Watching a storm passing by the front of our house.

648.  The beauty of art from centuries ago.

 649. Seeing how nature reclaims the land.

Why not start your own list.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Letting go of ideals.

After all the ups and downs of the last few weeks my Niece A has been readmitted to a secure psychiatric adolescent unit.  Not before she ended up in police custody for a couple of days.  She didn't commit a crime but would not return to the childrens home where she had been placed.  At one point social services were talking about putting her into a secure unit (the sort of place they can put under 16's who keep absconding or are waiting for court hearings).  They could do that for 72 hours before having to apply to court to keep her longer.  5pm on a Friday evening is not the best time to be told you need to get a solicitor involved before a court hearing at 11.30 on a Monday morning.  At least that has now all been avoided.

So what is my part in all this.  My natural instinct was to get straight in the car and go to the police station where she was.  At least once she was deemed to not be able to make clear judgements by herself social services could tell me where she was.  However I did manage to phone the station first, they asked her if she would see me and she said no.

As my parents still have a residence order for her I felt it only proper to let them know what has been going on.  My mum as I assumed might happen has not taken it well.

Once again I am left trying to work out what my role is.  I can't imagine I am ever going to be able to pretend she doesn't exist, that would feel like a complete betrayel to my sister (A's deceased mothers).  Though I also know that I cannot continue tying myself in knots fighting her corner when she does not want me to.  All the authorities involved with her seem to have made such a hash of things, it makes me want to shout and complain to the managers, my MP and anyone else who will listen.  What would that achieve for A though?  The chances are that even if things had been done 'properly' she still might be in the situation she is in now.

Then of course I hear the 'good citizen' voice inside my head saying that if I step in, it might make a difference to the way other people are treated.  At a time when my general health is not great, my mental health is not great and my own two children and husband need me, I think the answer to whether I step in or not is no.  I am quite sure that my mind is going to sway backwards and forwards with all this, at the moment though that 'peace that passes all understanding'(Phillipians 4:7) has descended.  I still feel quite subdued but peaceful and long may that last.

Why the picture of the cemetry?  My hubby and I went a walk for him to show it to me yesterday as it is just on the edge of Southampton City Centre, it is a fascinating place that you can read a little about here .  It has such an over grown and gothic look to it and is sooo huge.  We spent a good while taking pictures, reading the odd grave stone and just marvelling at how nature is trying to reclaim the land.  It made me realise something.  I don't like modern cemetries, but certainly over  100 years ago (and 100's more) when this cemetry was being used used, it had a purpose to reunite the bodies of families.  I love this idea!  Somehow it brings a real comforting feeling.  However in our present time it has become apparant that graves are not a sustainable way of disposing of bodies.  We just no longer have the space in our little country.  Therefore it was a reminder to me that sometimes we just have to let go of our ideals.  Find other ways to function.  Have you had to let go of any ideals?

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Admiring the View

In my job as a children and youth pastor I occasionally get to do a little something out of the ordinary.  Last year I was asked by our Diocese to plan a 20 minute workshop for their revamped confirmation celebration service at Winchester Cathedral.  It went down really well and I have been asked back again this year.  I initially said yes, thinking I would probably be able to just tweak what I did last year.  However when I met up with the organiser this week there is a whole different theme.  Once again however God knows the path before me.

The theme of the service is 'journeys' and the title of my area is going to be 'Admiring the View'.  Yet again my week started off not great with anxiety about what was happening with my niece.  As soon as I was told this ideas started to pop into my head and great conversation followed.  I was so relieved not to have been given the topic of being in a dark place!

I love it when my creativity starts to flow! I came out of that working lunch meeting totally bouyed up only to discover a parking ticket on my car.  I got home to more unwelcome news.  Then there was a moment when I suddenly remembered lunch time - that was a moment on my journey through that day when I was 'admiring the view'.  I find it so easy to forget the moments of respite that I get, and yet in reality I probably have as many of those moments as I do the hard times.

I'm pleased to say that as I am having to creatively think about this topic for work purposes, it is making me continually look out for those moments in my week when I can 'admire the view'.

There was the lovely dog walk that I had yesterday, I had over stretched myself with how far I had gone so took some time to sit at a lake 10 minutes walk from home.  Once the dog had got over her confusion as to why I had stopped, it was a fantastic 15 minutes of peace.  I got to watch a heron swimming, I was thinking how unusual it was to see one swimming and not standing at the edge where he normally is.  After about 10 minutes however he quickly dived into the lilly pads next to him and came up with something very orange in his beak, before flying off to an out of site corner.  An experience I certainly do not have every day (though as a veggie I did feel very sorry for the fish!).

What 'views' do you get to stop and admire on the journeys in life that you are making? How do you feel when you do stop?  Are you ever tempted to try and stop your journey to stay at that place of admiring?  It would be great to have your thoughts dear readers as I try and work out how I can use this topic to help those at the confirmation celebration service.

Monday, 12 September 2011

More Monday Blessings.

As you may have seen in my last post, that week did not end terribly well at all.  The latest on my nieces situation is that late on Friday I was told that she had chosen that she did not want me to know where she was for now - so in many ways that is an answer to prayer as there is nothing else I can do now.  I am ashamed to say that I did end up putting the phone down on the social worker as I feared I was going to say something very rude to her if I did not, when she told me of A's wishes.  More news followed on Sunday when a friend informed me that she was in our local area causing trouble which I believe ended up with the police involved.  However I have heard nothing from any authorities today so guess I am now totally out of the loop.  I can say all this so matter of factly, and on the whole that is how I am feeling most of the time now.  It feels like God has detached me from feeling the responsibility which in reality I really do no longer have.  This really is a blessing and of course there have been many more that I can look back on my week and see:

630.  Happy 10 year old starting back to school.
631.  Thrilled 11 year old starting secondary school and loving it.
632.  Flowers from friends.
633.  Love and encouraging comments on facebook from friends.
634.  Cups of tea and wise words with friends.
635.  Praying on-line with a dear friend hundreds of miles away over the pond, handing over our burdens.
636.  Worshipping with arms raised in our new small Sunday evening service.
637.  Time to crochet, creating a present for a dear little nearly 3 year old.
638.  A Guinea pigs fourth birthday party, with invites and balloons.
639.  The promise that perfect love drives out all fear. (1John 4:18)

Friday, 9 September 2011


Please bear with me, I am extremely agitated and so need to get this off my chest.

My niece (A) was told at the end of last week that the funding for her to go to the place that both her social worker and the Priory hospital (where she is staying were agreeing was the most appropriate place for her) was not being given.  I have been trying to get hold of both her social worker and her psychiatrist all week, making several phone calls.  Her social worker was off sick at the beginning of the week, I was told the duty social worker would call me back and they didn't.  The psychiatrist's secretary was calling me back with an appointment and hasn't.

At 5pm yesterday afternoon I had a phone call from her social worker saying that A was discharging herself from the Priory and her file had been placed in the out of ours social workers in tray to find her an emergency placement for last night.

Two weeks ago this child (14 years old) absconded from the Priory, causing a major police search and when found some hours later claimed to have taken an overdose of paracetamol (this is something she has done in the past).  I hope you agree that I had a right to be very concerned about getting this phone call.

After a few minutes of discussion with my husband we decided the next move was to call the Priory.  I did this and was astounded to be told by a psychotherapist (I had asked to speak to the nurse in charge of the ward), that A was allowed to discharge herself as she was a voluntary patient (as opposed to sectioned) even though she was only 14 years of age.  While on the telephone to this person, A, called my husband on his mobile, she could not understand why we were not pleased that she was discharging herself.  I then ended my call to the Priory as they were adamant that there was nothing they could do to keep her there.  I then spoke to A.  She informs me that on the ward round that morning her psychiatrist said to her that she should not be there and a placement should have been found.

This child has a track record of acting on suggestion.  She is also known to not be able to handle embarrassment.  At her last CPA (continuing care/discharge meeting) the psychiatrist reports that her main aim at that moment was to get herself sectioned as she saw mental illness as a badge of honour.

I spoke with A again (after spending time with some wise friends talking and praying) about 7pm and offered to go and sit with her until the out of hours social worker arrived.  As I was not able to promise her that we would not fall out (with someone as emotionally volatile as she has been it would have been pointless making this promise), she was not sure she wanted me there.  I suggested that she think about it and call me back.  She did inform me at this point that the staff on the ward had told social services a 'little white lie' saying that she would not stay at the Priory last night so that had to find her somewhere - when actually she was agreeing to stay there overnight if they didn' find her somewhere.  She informed me this was to ensure that they did something immediately.

I heard nothing more until 10pm last night when A phoned me to tell me that the out of hours had found her somewhere to go and were on their way to collect her, she informed me that her social worker would be coming to see her at that placement the next day (today - Friday).  I requested that she ask the social worker to call me in the morning.

I then had a phone call at 8.15am this morning from the Priory from a nurse saying was I called last night and made aware of what was going on and where A had gone.  We had not been called at all, the only contact that we had was by our call to them straight after the social worker had called.

Now what am I supposed to do??????  The nurse this morning informs me that they tried to get A to stay, explaining to her that a planned discharge would be better.  She disputed that the psychiatrist told A that she shouldn't be there on the ward round as she was present on that round.  Without any communication with us they agreed to hold on to some of A's belongings as she informed them that we would be willing to come and collect that.  They have allowed her to take belongings that she has never been allowed to have charge of without a guardian (even at the Priory), namely expensive musical instruments and a scrap book of her first 13 years of life.

It all seems to speak of incompetence to me, by all the professionals.  She should not have been stuck in the Priory for all this time if she did not need to be there, however she should not be encouraged or in the least not discouraged to go forward with the planned discharge that would bring about the best for her.

Lord of All, please have charge over this situation, guide me and show me where you want me and above all place your angels around A, protect her, comfort her and bring healing to her.   Amen.

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Busy at Work

I have been having a very enjoyable and busy week at work this week, the majority of my 20 hours have already been filled already, I have a meeting tonight and again on Friday, tomorrow however is going to be my full day of rest, hubby is off work as well so hopefully we will get to do something fun together.

If you are interested in more of what I do as a 'day job' do come and visit my work blog Life of a Children and Youth Pastor  - it would be great to see you over there x x x x

Monday, 5 September 2011

Blessed be the name of the Lord

I am still reeling somewhat from last weeks news but have made the first two phone calls that I feel are a starting point - now I have to wait for their responses.  In the mean time I am trying to stay positive.  I love this song - all except the give and take away bit,  I've never been able to quite believe that God takes good things away from us - good things just sometimes end - what do you think?

I am so blessed I can do nothing but continue to count the smallest of blessings:

620. dishes to be washed up at the sink.
621. pegged out washing.
622. a letter from a child in poverty overflowing with love.
623. light at the flick of a switch.
624. my daughter practising her saxophone on a Saturday morning.
625. dirty outdoor playing children.
626. pumpkins slowly growing in the garden.
627. being able to vacuum the floor of my sons bedroom!
628. early nights with a very good book.
629. the smell of freshly ironed clothes.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Fighting Disappointment

What happens when you don't get the answer you were praying you would?  Inevitable disappointment?  Unfortunately that is how I am feeling today.  I wrote in my last post of how much I was hoping my niece was going to get funding to go to a specialist unit to get the help she needs.  I discovered yesterday that she has not got it.

What is more it sounds as though there is going to be a great rush now to place her in a 'normal' social services children's home to save the NHS the money that is keeping her in a private mental health unit at present.  Even though she is back in the high dependency unit.

One of the worst parts of all this, is that I am left standing with the questions - what should I do?  and what can I do?  We have no parental responsibility for her, that has been handed over to social services by her father.

We will try and arrange a meeting with her social worker next week and would really appreciate prayers as we struggle through these next weeks.  I realise the struggle is mostly my internal one, but it is real and I cannot just let go of a child that I have cared for as my own for the last two years.

Monday, 22 August 2011

When it is all out of your hands.

It has been 14 weeks now since we stopped being Kinship carers for my 14 year old niece.  For 13 of those weeks she has been in a mental health unit with self-harming and aggressive behaviour getting worse and worse.  We could never have guessed just how damaged she was.  It has taken till now for me to feel like writing any of this down.  I have been very low and I know that a lot of that has been about 'control' being taken away from me.  My organised and perfectionist nature does not allow me to take kindly to 'failing'.  It doesn't seem to matter how much I can rationalise what has happened as not being a failure, seeing the success of us managing for 2 years where the authorities have not been coping in just these past weeks.  I will keep trying to feel it as well as know it, who knows, there is a chance that it might just seep into my heart that way.

We are still keeping in touch with her.  My husband goes to visit every 10 days or so.  I am in touch with those looking after her but not with her directly.  This causes me just to much pain at the moment.  The only thing we can practically do now is pray for her well-being and for the right placement to be funded for her.  What her social worker and the mental health unit feel is the right place has been found it looks amazing, and covers all the areas that she has got particular problems with.  So far the authorities have been refusing to fund it, however they are presently reviewing that decision and on the 1st September we should know whether they have changed their minds or what else they will offer in it's place.  I would greatly appreciate prayers from all of you dear readers who do pray, that the next step will be His way for her.

It is a long time since I have added to my list of 1000 things to be grateful for but as we were reminded at our church service of the importance showing our gratitude, it seems like the best time to get back on with it!

606.  A day out at the beach with my husband, my two children and my puppy dog.
607.  Home-made plum jam from a friend
608.  A big bag of plums from another to eat as they were and make puddings.
609.  New school uniforms all purchased, labelled and waiting in wardrobes.
610.  A friend trusting me with the most personal of issues.
611.  Seeing old friends after way to long.
612.  Teaching an 11 year old boy how to cast off and on with his knitting.
613.  Getting a gift in the post - see photo below, from him with a lovely letter one week later.
614.  Seeing the Lego all over my sons bedroom floor being played with every day for weeks.
615.  My daughter and her BF bathing the dog without being asked to!
616.  Being completely pampered by my 10 year old daughter, with bubbly bath and foot, shoulder and hand massages. (Okay so I know it was a ploy to get me to let her stay up real late - but it was worth it)
617. The pumpkin plants in my veg patch taking on the forms of triffids and travelling around my garden.
618. My crochet wave blanket of promises which is slowly growing.
619. My dear blog followers who are bearing with me through this barren patch.

To find out more about why it is good to count our blessings visit Ann Voskamps site by clicking on the picture below:

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Friday, 12 August 2011

Musings on Marriage

I seem to have gotten to that stage in life where the marriages of my peers are falling apart.  This has inevitably led me to look at my marriage.  Life has not been plain sailing in our marriage, especially when the children were small.  We watched a film recently, 'Marley and Me', there is a scene in that when Jennifer Annistons character completely loses the plot with her husband.  They have young children and are both fighting against the feelings that a change and giving up of roles brings on.  It is the closest interpretation of one of our fights that I had ever seen - quite frightful.

So why is my marriage still strong 15 years on.  I have learnt many lessons these are just a five that immediately come to mind:
  • Accepting that there will be rough times and setting your mind on resolving to battle through is essential.  Even if this means writing down the pros and cons of making your marriage work and purposely ensuring you write more pros (this might be burying your head in the sand but in a crisis it has worked for me).
  • Make your partner your best friend.  I have been blessed with some lovely female friendships through my marriage, however it was only after the breakdown of one that I realised how destructive this relationship had actually been to my marriage.  If the person you want to text, chat and joke with most in the world is not your partner, maybe it is time to re-evaluate that friendship.  For the last couple of years I have deepened friendships but now have much clearer boundaries that I am willing to abide by to protect the best friend status of my partner.
  • Saying sorry, repeatedly if necessary, it's a biblical principle and though we might not always feel sorry, saying it is more likely to get us to a place where we mean it than not saying it will.
  • Laughing, we have managed to get into some really silly arguments in the past and it has been good to revisit those times and laugh about them. They won't stop happening but it's much harder to have an argument about something you know you are going to end up laughing about.
  • Learn each others love language (Gary Chapman).  This has been so helpful to us, when your love languages are very different (as ours are) it is very easy to think that you are showing your partner love by speaking your love language to them and not theirs.  Since discovering the things that really make us feel loved even when we are struggling it is easy to show each other small acts of kindness in the appropriate language.
There are many things that I know we could do better on, praying together is one of those, we seem to go through spates of doing this and then not but I do believe that it is very important.  Turning the television off is another one or shutting down the computer to give each other your full attention.  It is strange that it is only when you do those two things that you realise just how obtrusive they are.
I know I can only say these things coming from the perspective of having a husband who shares the same ideals as I do.  Where there is disparity on agreeing what is right for a marriage I can see that the hurdles become immense.

The fall out from broken relationships seems to be immense, it doesn't seem to matter what age any children from the relationship are, damage occurs in one way or another.  My husbands parents were about to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary when they split!  I would love to know what you think about marriage, what has worked for you?  What hasn't worked for you?  Are there relationships that get so broken that they cannot be repaired?  I do hope no-one reading this feels condemned in anyway about their relationships, that is not my intention, I am just trying to get my head around a subject I seem to be surrounded by.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Where I am.

Sorry to have not been around much dear readers, the stress of the last few years has finally caught up with me.  There has been so much change and this week has brought some more.  The photo above is of my two babies (oooh they do hate it when I call them that!) walking to their primary school together for the last time.  Realistically I know that it is probably the last time they will ever walk to school together. So yesterday was the start of their school summer holidays and off they went together to the park 10 minutes away from us for a couple of hours by themselves!  Now that is going to take some getting used to - they are getting all grown up.

I am doing something new to try and get back on track, I am going to have therapy.   Eeeek what am I letting myself in for.  God has been so good to me and managed to quiet me enough to let me hear the advice of my doctor, my employers and my friends.  In fact one friend has cunningly told me that if I did it, it might make her brave enough to go and get help on a specific issue. I'm sure she knew that giving me a reason that made me feel as though I might be helping someone else would work!  I am using a Christian charity based locally, that was on the advice of my lovely employers and my Christian family doctor.

Yesterday I had my initial session, for them to assess what they feel they will be able to offer me, it wasn't a therapy session.  However I am amazed at the insights that were revealed to me as I just talked. I won't be starting properly until after the school holidays.  It feels important that this is something I do in my time and not the time I have for my children, so I have requested appointments during their school day which I can fit my work around.  This will also give me time to complete the summer holiday clubs that I am running at the beginning and end of the holidays at work.

I realise that it is going to be hard work, your prayers would be very much appreciated.  Where I can I will try and share what I am learning about myself.

Thanks for bearing with me.   Jane x.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Being Still

I have been dipping in and out of an amazing little book the last few weeks
I was given it many years ago when I was a new Christian and to be honest never really 'got' it.  However in the last few years I have dipped into it and found it a really good aid to prayer and for encouraging me to get into my Bible more.

It is split into daily readings which are dated and I generally will look around the date that it is to find something to catch my eye.  The day before yesterday the reading I looked at was all about Being Still.  It was a reflection on what happens in life when storms are raging (rather pertinent for me at the mo!).  It reflected on the way Jesus taught, when in a storm his words to the storm were Be Still, there were no instructions given to the disciples (just a little expressed exasperation!).  However when Jesus had much teaching to impart, he takes his disciples (and sometimes thousands of others) to hill sides, to beaches, quiet places.

I find this so reassuring.  I know that the stormy experiences I am going through at the moment are going to change me some what.  It is lovely though to remember that I do not need to try and work out what those things are while the storms are raging.  All I need to do is Trust Him and let him tell those storms to Be Still.

Monday, 11 July 2011

When you realise what you have been praying.

A few weeks ago I wrote this post  about finding a phrase that I was using like a mantra when my stress levels were spiralling.  The phrase was 'Jesus shine your light'.  Since then not a lot has changed on the outside, if anything for the week after I started things got considerably worse in the situations I was praying for His light to shine.  It wasn't until I went to see my Fairy God Mother last week that she shone a little light on what I was saying.

When you ask Jesus to shine His light on situations you are going to see everything illuminated - not just good stuff.  Maybe what is happening inside of me now is the revelation the Light can give.  When his light is shining and illuminating situations, the cracks, the brokenness will be revealed, they can no longer hide shrouded in darkness and secrecy.

How amazing that God can answer prayers that we are praying without us even realising what we are saying/praying.

Of course now that His light is shining and those dark areas are being lit by His light, His healing can come in to restore and renew.  I wonder what other prayers I am saying that I do not realise the fullness of yet?  Has anyone else had this sort of experience?

Continuing to count my blessings with the Gratitude community today.

595. Dirt in the bath as the water empties and the dog stands clean.
596. Time to talk.
597. Quiet times in my Green Room.
598. Messy kitchen, happy daughter, lots of cakes.
599. Tears of sorrow.
600. Pink flowers.
601. A weeks washing drying on the line despite the showers.
602. Goodbye and Goodnight kisses from both my children.
603. The encouragement of fellow bloggers.
604. The facebook chat with a person I can't talk to at the moment.

Friday, 8 July 2011

The Green Room

As the decision has most finally been made that my niece will not be coming back to live with us we have decided to turn her old bedroom back into a room we can use.  It is only a little room but we decided to keep a bed in here to be a guest room (which is a good job as it has been used already). My husband suggested that it would be good to let the children keep their musical instruments and stands up in this room to encourage them to play a little more often (their rooms are not very big either).  I rather fancied being able to have somewhere to sit and be quiet.  The result is - The Green Room.

The walls have been painted Dulux Putting Green, it took two coats of paint, but we only used a small tin :o).

The mirror was already in situ.  The two little white wooden shelves are from Ikea

The chair was a bargain buy from ikea for just £40.00 it is cream and so I have covered it with a throw which will hopefully help it to wear a little better.  All the pictures we already have, the three on the same wall are cross stitch embroideries that I did in the early 1990's.  The iris picture was made by my sister and given to us as a present in 2004.

The little bedside table was another good purchase for just under £40.00, the lamp was £5.00 these were both from The Range.  The lovely little green glass candle holders were £1.00 from ikea and I already had the beautiful holding cross lying on the table.

One of my favourite things in this room are the curtains and the bedcover.  These have been in storage for 12 years!  I made them for a little room we had in our first house.  I had completely forgotten I had made three curtains and it took some thinking to remember where the third one went - it was over the door as the door had glass panels to lighten up an otherwise very dark hallway.  This is perfect as the extra curtain works great as a bedcover over the top of the bedding so that does not get grubby from the children using the room to play their music.  We purchased the wooden curtain pole for £15.00, the lightshade from the Fairtrade Shop which is local to us for £10.00 and three cushions from the Range to give the bed that bit more of a comfy look.

This is my one real extravagance for the room, I saw it and just could not resist, it was not very expensive and I think it just adds that last little something to what has become a very peace filled room.

The extra advantage of making this room so cosy and peaceful is that it is always a place where I know I can always go and pray for my niece, feeling extra close to her, as it was the room where she laid her head for 2 whole years.

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

What I love about Facebook (and God)

I have just had a most lovely surprise, but first let me set the scene.  I have been on facebook for around 3 years now.  In all that time I have never done a cull of my accumulated friends.  Part of the reason for that is because I have tried to be very wise with whom I have friended in the first place.  However no matter how hard I tried there were still a few that I did press accept to without thinking very hard about it.  I thought hard about the people who I was going to delete, my criteria was roughly
  • how often do I correspond with them 
  • how often do they correspond with me
  • has facebook enhanced our relationship
  • will either they or me lose anything by deleting them.
The last one was the hardest by far and I have to trust God that I have made the correct decisions on the few that went because of this point. I deleted over 25 people!  A lot of these were people who I had come into contact with through kinship caring pages.  It feels right as I am no longer caring for my niece to put a little distance between myself and those that are.  I have kept a couple who I have made a connection with, one of whom has gone through a similar scenario causing her to no longer care for her nieces and another who lives near by and I would like to be able to continue supporting her (and catching the odd coffee together).  I can still use the kinship care pages and am sure that all those affected will understand my reasons.  It felt very good, like having a good spring clean once I had done it.

So what is the lovely surprise?  This evening I have been 'found' on facebook by a wonderful lady who was my line manager when I last worked as an Occupational Therapist in West London.  The surprise is heightened for me because she is a self confessed technophobe!  It is almost 12 years since I worked with her, computers were only just coming into our offices and she hated them.  Since them we have kept in contact at Christmas, met up occasionally and exchanged the odd e-mail, but facebook would be one of the last places I would have expected her to be using.  She is a fantastic 'quiet' Christian, extolling all the virtues that St Francis of Assisi extolled.  I worked in a lovely little 'dream team' with a Christian physiotherapist and social worker as well as this lovely lady.

It feels like a lovely little gift from my oh so loving Father.  I so need the wisdom, love and prayers of those that love Jesus at the moment.  As previous posts may have indicated I am struggling with depression, which affects all areas of my life at the moment.  Daily decisions like what I should make for tea, can be so difficult and it only takes one small upset to totally floor me.  I am clinging on though.  I was reminded by a fellow twitterer earlier of 2Corinthians  chapter 4 verses16 to 18:

16 Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. 17 For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 18 So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

Praise God!

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hopes and Prayers for my children.

What are the hopes and prayers that I have for the children that my husband and I through God created?

  • For them to know they are loved by both their parents and by God.
  • To care and be there for each other through life's ups and downs.
  • To grow old in each others company joining future families together.
  • To care for the physical world in which they grow up in.
  • To never loose the desire to keep learning through all life's experiences.
  • To stand as a constant witness for God to all those they meet in life.
  • To care for their bodies and minds when we as parents no longer can.
  • To seek and ask us as parents for help and guidance no matter what our ages or the circumstances.
  • To continually give themselves time to search themselves with God to have their hearts desires revealed to them.
  • To know that it is okay for them to say no sometimes (except when I am telling them to do something ;o)).

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Finding what helps.

When my mind is buzzing going over and over all the things that have been said or done or should have been said or done, I really struggle.

I have tried all sorts of ways to hand my 'troubles' to Jesus, however I always seem to manage to take them right back and then feel bad for doing that as well!

I have tried using mental pictures, of lying my troubles at the cross or at Jesus's feet.

I have tried writing the problems down and putting them into a 'Jesus' box, or burning them.

I have prayed - oh how I have prayed.

I have put worship music or songs on and tried to turn my face towards worship, but the troubles are still there as soon as I stop.

I have tried to continue with counting my blessings, even when I really haven't wanted to.

This week however I have found something new.  It all started when I had to take a trip to see someone, I knew it was going to possibly drain me for the rest of the day.  I was scared that I was going to say the wrong thing.  I prayed.  That 'still small voice' then spoke to me - "Shine my light".
I started to repeat over and over "Jesus shine your light".  Every time a thought that would conjure up negative or useless feelings I started again.  I wonder how many times I said it in the following 24 hours.  And I am still saying it now.  It has the most amazing effect.  The thoughts disappear and I am able to concentrate on where and how I can shine with the light of Jesus and where I just need to ask Him to shine in the dark places I cannot reach.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Blessings even when you don't want them.

Today I would normally be posting my blessings as I have tried to do regularly for many many months now.  However today I don't want to.  WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!!


I want to be the child on the floor screaming in the supermarket aisle whose world has fallen apart because she is not allowed the treat she has just seen on the shelves.

I want to slam doors behind me.

I want to tell people that come to my door trying to sell me stuff to GET LOST.

I want to eat rubbish all day.

I want to sit with a huge sulking pout, scowling at anyone who dares look at me.

I want to smash things.

I want shout rude words at the top of my voice.

I want to stamp my foot and say IT'S NOT FAIR!

I want to go out in my car and purposefully annoy other people.

I really would love to do these things, however I suspect I shall take the dog for a walk, make my daughter some tea, watch some tennis and do some crochet - my life is full of blessings even when I don't want them. (#590 - 594!)

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Excited about Church

Although my home life remains in much turmoil since the departure of my niece, as often seems to happen, in my 'church' life is flourishing.  In fact I have just looked back at old posts to see how often I have blogged about Church - there are 18 posts labelled, and almost all of them are quite negative.  One in particular however caught my eye, you can read it here .  I cannot believe it is more than 2 years that I wrote this.  The excited news is that it is all coming to fruition.

Since that post, our then curate has now become our vicar (a very unusual step for the Church of England to allow this!).  The passion for Local Worshipping Church Communities has remained - and in fact the words that God spoke to me in that conversation with our curate are now happening.

After many months of prayer and much support from a vibrant church in a near by city we have now started a new service at one of our churches.  At present it is in the evening,  as a family we all love it, though my youngest (10 years old) tends to take colouring and enjoys having a head massage as she gets sleepy.  My 11 year old son is lapping it all up, on one occasion when I was not able to make it he came home and practical repeated the sermon for me (I did tell my vicar who had done said sermon!).

There is still much to be done, there is great hope that a second morning service is going to be set up in the near future.  At present we have approximately 80 adults attending the evening service, and many of those are still splitting their time between our church and the 'other' one as their children want to continue with their friends.  Much will be needed to be done in order to be able to accommodate a lot of children, at present we have only two very small rooms where junior church and a creche is held during the service that is currently taking place at our church.

The hard work does not faze me at all though, it does nothing but excite me to see God at work, fulfilling hopes and promises that lots of people have been holding out for. 

The other unexpected return that we are having from experience of waiting and now building is the effect on our children's faith.  It has led me to consider the advantages and disadvantages of 'perfect' church, as children might see it.  For our two, I feel we are equipping them by going through this experience with them.  They might be involved in the development of new churches and services in the future and I pray that this experience will positively impact on their journeys. 

They have had to experience a lot of angst during this time.  They have had to attend junior church where the pace of change has been very slow, but have seen it move on. 

They have gone along with our experimentation when we have not wanted to attend 'church' and have done some wacky things like having 'family church up a tree'.

They now know the complexity of how services are made up and the number of people that this can take.

They and we have made some fabulous new friends and I know a lot of those friendships are just at the beginning and are hopefully going to grow and grow.

So hopefully you will see this is a positive and excited post about 'Church', it does help to have positive experiences when it it where you work as well as worship!