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

Friday, 17 March 2017

A Mid-Lent Reflection

Almighty and everlasting God,

you hate nothing that you have made
and forgive the sins of all those who are penitent:
create and make in us new and contrite hearts
that we, worthily lamenting our sins
and acknowledging our wretchedness,
may receive from you, the God of all mercy,
perfect remission and forgiveness;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and forever.


We are nearly half way through the forty days of Lent, the time of repentance.

The time when we search our souls, when we, as Christians ask ourselves who we are, and also whose we are.

The season of Lent is a time of soul searching preparation before the celebration of Resurrection day.

Only a truly honest view of our sin will give us a full appreciation of God's mercy.

Only when we fully understand how lost humankind really is, do we then grasp how great is our salvation.

Remember....Christ did not simply die for the general sins of the world...

He died  specifically for my sin, your sin.

Can recommend this Lenten reflection by Vinita Hampton Wright

Monday, 13 March 2017

Too much self.....

I have a lovely friend who gets  really taken over by what ever the latest trend is on Pinterest.
Last year it was Hygge...a Danish word for something that most of the world has been doing for generations.

This year the trend is for "Self Care Boxes"
I got one for Christmas

It was full of things that would fulfil my 'self care wheel' in order to maintain my 'life balance'.

My friend was rather put out when I emptied the box and put the items into everyday use instead of keeping them all in the box for use when I was feeling particularly down and in need of some 'self care'

This got me thinking....
 When I am in need of 'self care' it is to my Bible and prayer that I turn, not things in a box.

I am not 'self sufficient' and don't want to be.
There is too much self sufficiency about.

The dictionary definition of self sufficient is:-

1.  able to supply one's own or its own needs without external assistance
2. having extreme confidence in one's own resources, powers, etc           

It’s not that hard to admit that we need God’s help in this life. Only the most proud or the most foolish believe they are truly self-sufficient. Yes, we need God. Yes, we can seek from God whatever we need—help, comfort, or guidance.
But actually taking the step toward God can be not only difficult but complex. A lot of things can get in the way.

Remember one simple fact: God is for us, not against us. God waits for us, eager to help with our pain, shame, anger, or fear. The only thing to do is step forward and bring to God whatever burden hinders us.

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Catching Up....

Apologies for such a long time in between posts.....
On 31st January I was struck down with 'Acute Viral Bronchitis' and things got much worse before they started to get better I can tell you!
As you can see from my daily journal entries.

As the bronchitis was viral no antibiotics would touch it and a case of waiting for it to pass...oh, so much easier said than done. It has taken most of February for it to 'pass'

Have never known a cough so very, very painful, the bronchitis sent my asthma totally haywire which in the end turned out to be the biggest concern and has only just stabilised within the last couple of days.

....oh...and did I mention the pulled rib muscles a bout of coughing left me with?.....painful indeed, and still are as the inflammation takes a while to heal...

Apart from that, all is well as we enter this season of Lent once again.

We had a very chilly few days...the lowest my weather station recorded was on 2nd February, when the outside  thermometer registered -9.8'C at 8.05am...just as my husband was going out to get the bus to work.. It was only 17.2' indoors too I see...the heating doesn't come on till 7am

Later on in the month we had 'Storm Doris' which brought us gale force winds and some horrible hail storms. Was rather glad to be staying in doors!

My son in law rescued these Daffodils that the storm had flattened when he came round with my annual spring supply of compost...3 for £10 from all good garden centres at this time of year..

I took the photograph before he had brought the third bag in. Which he had to carry from the boot of his car, up the garden path, through the front door, through the hall, through the kitchen and out of the back door. 

Now all I need is for the weather to warm up a little and I get get my vegetable seeds sown in the large pots that are all cleaned and ready and waiting...it won't be long now.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Whoops...I did it again!

It was the Woodpeckers fault!

Tuesday is the day I join my daughter on her mid morning walk with the dogs.
This time we decided to take a leisurely stroll around the back of the lake to see what we could see.
In the cold weather the birds come out to feed much later so 11.0am is a good time to bird watch.....

We saw  a pair of Kingfishers...or perhaps the same bird twice? They zoom along the river bank so quickly and all you see is a flash of 'kingfisher blue'...glorious.

The pair of Herons seem to have been joined by another singleton.

The Egret count has gone up to three now.

All the Cormorants seem to have disappeared for some reason.

We met a knowledgeable ornithologist who was telling us about the arrival of some 'Gadwall' ducks amongst the many others that are there on the water...or rather perched precariously on the vegetation as the lake was frozen in the most part.

The path was extremely muddy and slippy and when I suddenly spotted the elusive Woodpecker climbing up the side of a very near by tree I was over joyed.....
.....so much so that I didn't look where I was going, caught my right foot in a tree root or tuft of vegetation and 'splat'......flat on my back in the mud with my knee taken a good wrench.

Closely followed by two Labradors  piling on top of me to join in the fun!!!

Thank fully, because it was so cold I was wearing  numerous undergarments and my big walking coat, so they cushioned the  bounce...and the fact that I splatted into a particularly muddy bit, no real damage was done........
....apart from my right knee....
Thankfully not my left, which if you remember was damaged in another tripping incident in May last year and has not fully recovered.

The ornithologist helped my daughter haul me upright and we took a slow walk home...with a cold and wet bottom!!

What next my family have asked, and queried whether I am safe to be let out on my own...

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.