God has wonderful promises for us as we travel on through life and into later years.The best news is that,inside we need never grow old because He has actually promised to renew our youth day by day.

Isaiah 40:31

Saturday, 21 January 2017

Winter Sunshine

Yesterday morning, after a week of dank, dark and damp weather the sky was blue and the sun shining brightly as I waved my husband off to work at 8.0am.
So twenty minutes later I was all togged up in my warm walking clothes and set off with my camera.
As you can see, the winter sunshine  gave rise to some glorious photo opportunities.

Don't let the blue sky fool you; it was mighty chilly!

It looked as if there was the magical 'will-o'-the-wisp' forming over the river...but that is only seen at night

The clear sky led to some wonderful reflections too

There were a few dog walkers out and about.

Was home by 9.40am.
Am always  amazed that though we live in  the suburbs of a busy industrial town, this nature reserve is only a ten minute walk away.
We also have similar access to several woods and footpaths over fields and beside still waters.
God is to be found in Creation

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Reclaiming Solitude

A year has past since the TSSF Area Meeting decided that I was not suitable to go forward for Profession, which greatly saddened me as it meant that I also lost friends and fellow Franciscans as well as my Spiritual Director.

Having been without a Spiritual Director for all of 2016 the search is on for  some one  who is willing to take me on. This is not an easy task!   Last year two were found for me...the first one we both agreed it would just not 'work' and the second viewed 'spiritual direction' as their career and charged £30 a session plus travelling expenses.. an offer I declined.

Until my accident in May of last year my life had continued as an Urban Hermit...then things got all topsy turvy 'pear shape' and my times of solitude and silence got lost in hospital visits, physio therapy and so on. Until now...

With the start of this New Year the call to solitude remains as strong as before and so I am slowly withdrawing back into the glories of time spent alone, well, not really alone as God is also there . Taking on only the minimum of commitments as before.

 I had a conversation with some one at church last week about solitude in general, interestingly  they viewed 'solitude' as being a very selfish Christian. Believing that as Christians we are all called to be out in the world evangelising. This view of solitude is not one I had encountered before, more often I am asked "don't you get very lonely"....no, I don't, solitude is not loneliness, and I do not get lonely in my solitude.

I am content, and happy to be reclaiming my solitude

Neither is solitude easy...it tends to bring up things deeply hidden in the mind and soul and laid before God.

Then I read this short article by Sister Thérèse Garman in last weeks church's service sheet:-

"Loneliness is linked with our expectations of others. If we expect people always to satisfy our longing, we will always be disappointed. When we are lonely, we often try to distract ourselves. Restless and unhappy, we summon other people, by email,phone, social media etc. to meet our needs.
Solitude, however, can lead to contentment...we are able to be present. Jesus always found time for solitude with his Father. Do we sometimes need solitude with God? We can practise solitude by spending time in daily prayer. But solitude is more a state of mind and heart, an attentiveness, than a place. With inward solitude, we are not alone. Amid noise and confusion, we possess deep inner silence. We can then reach out to the lonely. We need to go from loneliness to solitude to community. At the core of our being there is a longing for God that can only be met by converting loneliness into solitude"

Taken from ' Sunday Link'

Monday, 2 January 2017

Game On..

Today marks the end of our annual holiday board game marathon...
....this year I have done particularly badly!

We started with Dominoes, but soon discovered that the cat liked to join in which wasn't conducive to play, so we soon gave up on that and settled in to Draughts (Checkers for US readers)

So each day over our mid day meal we played three games,
Here we are on Christmas Day, eating an ad hoc picnic of cheese and crackers whilst we play.
The drink is non alcoholic

As you can see.....I  failed miserably. Martin winning nearly every game.
This is because he is very sneaky and bides his time whilst I merrily move counters without thinking  ahead. In one move he managed to hop over four...yes, FOUR of my counters in one move.

....and then....in the evening we played Scrabble...
I failed miserably at that too as you can see... because Martin knows weird words like 'xi' and  'xa' and 'qa'  that do not appear regularly in my vocabulary but score high points in Scrabble.
I am 'Numpty'...husband is 'Pillock' which are our regular terms of endearment for each other.
The words actually mean the same thing, we looked it up.

My son sent us  a "Stratford upon Avon Special Edition  " version of Monopoly for Christmas.

(That is where he lives)

Maybe next year we will have a Monopoly Tournament.

Thursday, 29 December 2016

December Sunshine....

Out and about early this morning, frosty and bright, if a trifle chilly.

No one around, peaceful time to walk and contemplate.

Happy New Year one and all

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Wrapped in Love

"And she gave birth to her firstborn son and
 wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger"

Luke 2:7

We know this verse so well as part of the Nativity narrative, but have you ever given a thought as to what "swaddling clothes" (or 'swaddling bands') actually are?

A quick search of the internet shows that 'swaddling a child' is an ancient and modern practise. When my first born child was born in 1971  the midwife wrapped her tightly in a blanket immediately after birth..."to mimic the close space of the womb". That we understand...but what  about the bands themselves?

In Mary's day a Jewish woman prepared for the birth of her child by making a set of swaddling bands. Strips of fine wool, lovingly embroidered, ready to receive the precious gift.

Do you remember the security blankets your children and grandchildren carried around  with them and wrapped themselves in at bed time.

How many of us curl up under a favourite blanket when in need of comfort.

And how good it is to snuggle under a blanket (or duvet!) on a chilly night

Luke thought that swaddling clothes were important enough to include in his Nativity narrative.

God's gift of His son Jesus to grow and live on earth, and finally to die for us on the cross was  God's way of wrapping His arms around us and saying..
"I love you"

Wrap yourself in a blanket today

God Bless

Thursday, 15 December 2016

Another walk on the wild side.....

Once a week I join my daughter as she takes the dogs on their mid morning walk.
At this time of year when the vegetation has either been cut down or naturally died down we  like to walk right round the lake in a nearby nature reserve. 
That way we get a better chance of seeing the over wintering inhabitants.
In a previous post I had you counting the number of Cormorants who had arrived for the winter.

This time we disturbed  a lonely 'Little Egret' as we walked past where he was sitting. Usually there are three or four of them but this is the first we have seen.

For some reason the Heron was perched up in a tree...centre of photo.
Then we saw why...there was another Heron sitting in his usual spot on the bank, ...or perhaps this one is the new comer?

We rounded the corner where the path runs alongside the River Freshney. 
One of the dogs just loves water and tends to jump in and out of the river.

This time she jumped out with this rather large Crab in her mouth!!!

Dead one and rather smelly..goodness knows where it had come from. A Crab who lives in sea water would not normally be found in a freshwater river.
Perhaps a Seagull had  grabbed it and found it too heavy to carry...or it was someones dinner that they decided to toss.

Who knows....it gave us a good laugh anyway.
The dog wanted to carry it home, which my daughter was not too keen on, so we reluctantly left it behind!

Happy Day.


Thought I would share with you what I have done to my cupboard door.
Didn't tell Husband , it took him three days to notice....

The hole in the middle of the door is for the cat...this is the cupboard under the stairs where she hides when there is any loud noise or fireworks.
It is her safe place (the door is normally shut)

So it just remains for me to say Christmas Blessings to all my lovely readers
......share this calligraphy message that my Father made in 1961 and has been put up at Christmas every years since, I have been it's keeper since 1994