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

Monday, 16 October 2017

Finding Green Spaces

On Saturday I had a book to collect from the town library. It was a warm autumn morning so husband decided to accompany me and suggested we take a walk before catching the bus home again
.....so thought I would share it with you.

This imposing building is the main library and stands in the centre of town.

The row of figures high on the wall are called the 

We turned our backs on the library and set off down a side road, passing car parks, industrial estate and a long row of Alms Houses, before coming upon this patch of green called Ainslie Rec. 

There was also a nice collection of graffiti on the boundary wall.
I confess that am a fan of graffiti if it is well done and not just 'tags'
These two I liked..

Can you spot the Humber Bridge in this one? 

Husband said that if we continued walking through several backstreets we would come out at 'Peoples Park' , mentioned before in this blog.

We passed this large house that always intrigues me, what is its history I wonder?

I also shuffled my way through large piles of leaves...bliss!

We arrived at the park....guess which way we are heading?

You guessed correctly!!

On the way out to catch the bus home we saw this very speedy machine hoovering up the leaves on the paths...very handy

Though we live in a large and busy town we are blessed with numerous green spaces, many hidden down side streets which are a joy to discover.

Happy Day



Thursday, 28 September 2017

Making Plans

Do you make plans for the future?

I used to do but life taught me that there was no point.

I made plans to go on to Art College at seventeen, but my Mother decided that Art College was not the place for a "well brought up, middle class girl from a Christian family".

Despite many discussions with my Art Teacher,my Mother stuck by her decision and so  I reluctantly trained to be a nurse and stayed in that career for over thirty years.
(though continued to paint and make a modest income from sales)

When I qualified in 1971 had planned to join the Navy as a nurse...but discovered I was pregnant.
Despite the Navy agreeing to defer for a year and my plans to have the baby adopted.....

I got married instead and planned to  live "happily ever after"
...... but my husband had other ideas.
We divorced in 1977

It was then that I stopped making plans, of any sort, just living through whatever each day throws at me. 
I realised that whatever plans I made God had other ideas.

He was a middle aged lawyer who thought he had found a bargain when a ninety year old widow offered him her apartment 'for life' if he paid her 2,500 francs each month  for the rest of her life.
After that the apartment would be his. Great plan don't you think?

The woman's name was Jeanne Calment

She became the world's oldest verified person, and died aged one hundred and twenty two in August 1997..........

Andre-Francois Raffray died in 1995.
Just think of all that rent money he paid out.

As Proverbs 19:21 explains.......
"You can make many plans, but the Lord's purpose will prevail"

Thought to be the source of the Yiddish saying quoted by Woody Allen .

God is not surprised when our plans go awry.

When we make plans we should run them past God first.
Pray over them....
 ....and should ask ourselves...
"If the Lord wants us to, we will live and do this or that"
James 4:14,15

Most of us learn the hard way, that it makes more sense to prayerfully consider what to do before making any plans...or God will laugh at us.

Monday, 18 September 2017

Follow God ...Not the World

Warning....this is a “Monday Morning Rant”...not had one of those for a while.

The role of the church is to follow God...NOT the world.

The UK has turned into a non Christian country, under attack from our own government,
Justine Greening the Government “Women and Equalities Secretary” has said churches should reflect “modern attitudes” as they consider whether to change their stance on same-sex marriage.   As a practicing Lesbian, she would say that wouldn’t she?

Same-sex marriages have been legal since 2014 but many religious institutions – including the Church of England, Catholic Church, United Synagogue, and Muslim Council of Britain – have chosen not to recognise the unions or perform the ceremonies.

Justine Greening, said that religious institutions should “keep up” with public opinion – which has been shifting towards acceptance of same-sex marriage

“It is important that the church, in a way, keeps up and is part of a modern country,” 

“I wouldn’t prescribe to them how they should deal with that but I do think we’re living in a country where people broadly recognise that attitudes are in a different place now to where they were many, many years ago."

“We have allowed same-sex marriage, that’s a massive step forward for the better. And for me, I think people do want to see our major faiths keep up with modern attitudes.”

She also pointed out that some churches, like the Quakers, endorsed same-sex marriage and performed the ceremonies.

Her comments come after John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, last week said people should be able to “bloody well get married in a church” if they wished to.

Miss Greening also announced this morning that the Government would launch a consultation on the 2004 Gender Recognition Act to consider proposals to make it easier for people to legally change their gender. 

Remarks, by our Government that show the authoritarian aspect of modern liberalism as both Teresa May our Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn have spoken out in support of changes to the law.

Our Laws were formed out of the Judeo-Christian truths but have been cast aside for this “anything goes” Liberalism.

To be a Christian who stands by Biblical Truths is seen as being an “out of date weirdo”....I am proud to be one.

Time we Christian’s made a stand, but we don’t do we? Often I seem to be in a minority of one as I campaign against these blasphemies.

And there you have it...rant over!

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Cloud Spotting

My Father taught me the art of 'cloud watching' as a child and my Grandfather told me tales of how to predict the weather from various cloud formations and cows!

If you know how to read the clouds and other clues around and about as well as the many 'weather verses' that my Grandparents used to recite...and I still remember.... you can have a very good idea what your local weather will be over the next few hours.

Clouds in particular all have very distinctive shapes and colours which are associated with the various different weather types 

"If woolly fleeces strew the heavenly way ,
Be sure no rain disturbs the sky"

These small patches of fluff, looking like a flock of sheep, are Cumulus Clouds and are a sure sign of settled weather.
These are the clouds that tend to give all the various shapes in the sky that children (and grown ups) love to watch

However if they look tall and large , these are Cumulonimbus Clouds.
These clouds are holding a lot of moisture and rain is on its way.

Not so welcome, especially for sailors are the 'Mackeral Skies'
which "make tall ships carry low sails"

Looking light the light and dark pattern of a Mackerel's scales these clouds appear when there is a lot of moisture in the air. 
In winter they are an indicator of snow.

'Mare's Tails'  or Cirrus Clouds are found high up in the sky and are whipped along by the winds and are also a portent of rough weather ahead.....we see a lot of these where I live!

"Mare's tails; storms and gales. Mackerel sky; not 24 hours dry."

....and then we have England's most commonest cloud!

This is the Stratus Cloud, that grey blanket that covers the skies on those familiar dull days. It is flat, it is low, sometimes coming down to ground level especially on Auntumn mornings.
It is bringing us drizzle, fog and mist..often all at the same time!

Even though our range of clods here in England is not over exciting, there is a growing band of those of use who are members of that eccentrically named

come and join us

...about the cows?  Do they really sit down in a huddle if it is about to rain as I was told as a child?

The UK Met Office say no!
Read here all about weather myths, an interesting read


Friday, 28 July 2017

The Joys of an English Summer

This was the view from our back garden yesterday  about 6pm.
Thunder had started rumbling in the distance half and hour earlier getting nearer and nearer...
.....then this happened....

Last Saturday husband and I had donned our waterproofs and taken a walk by the sea, through the dunes alongside the marsh.

The clouds were an incredible sight 
(I love clouds)

Very atmospheric

As you can see, my waterproof coat is very long.
As we walked past a small boy (about five or six) out with his younger sister and Father, we heard him ask:-

"Is that Darth Vader?"

I turned round and pulled a face at him and then laughed. 
Father was so apologetic and the little boy was still not sure if I was friendly or not.
Made our day and we laughed about it on the way home.

Later I sent the photo to my youngest grandchild to see what she thought.
At age seven and three quarters she is very knowledgeable about such things   :)

She agreed that I did look a little like "Darth Vader's wife" and now I am known as Granny Vader.

Happy Days

Friday, 7 July 2017

Friday Miscellany

Once again we took a Saturday walk to visit another cafe that is new to us....this one is in what once was public toilets.

The cafe is small and when we got there , no room to sit inside, so we sat out...

Not an ideal location either

Unfortunately, though the cake was tasty, if expensive, the coffee was not. 
It was very bitter and the milk was 'off'

No matter, all part of our quest to visit as many small independent cafes  before the end of the year.

Tuesday is my day for joining my daughter as she walks the dogs.

We tend to call in at this local park for the dogs to run and chase the ball.

It has an 'activity area'  for older children...and  a nearly seventy year old woman...

I love the zip wire and each week I zoom along several times.

This week, I got my daughter to video me so I could share with my son and daughter who are miles away and have no idea what their aged parent gets up to...

It is such fun...

Monday, 26 June 2017

Sounds of Summer

Way back in November last year I shared how we had discovered this small wood hidden behind houses in the middle of a housing estate.

We have returned several times since then as the seasons change.

We took refuge from the heat this Saturday and found ourselves serenaded by this chorus of birds in the tree tops...

so thought I would share it with you..

Apologies for the sudden appearance of my husband, not once , but twice!

If you listen carefully you can hear the buzzing of a large bee as it decided to come to rest on the hand holding the camera...and me blowing it away.

Then later on in the evening, as I sat , catching up on "NCIS New Orleans"    I was captivated by the shadows the tree in the front garden was casting on the side board...

...what do you think? Rather magical isn't it?

Saturday, 17 June 2017

"oh I do like to be beside the seaside...."

 This is what our local paper said today........

"The sun is shining for what is expected to be the hottest weekend of the year so far and hundreds of people are heading to Cleethorpes to make the most of the summer weather.
The Met Office and Public Health England have issued a Heat Health Watch Alert for the North East Lincolnshire area and much of England with temperatures forecast to reach 27c today (Saturday) and on Sunday with night-time lows unlikely to dip far below 17c making for some uncomfortable sleeping conditions.
The heat warning is in effect until 8am on Tuesday with temperatures on Monday still fairly high, peaking at around 23c."

So off we went to the sea side, only a couple of miles a way and a rather sweaty bus ride.

We called into our favourite eatery "Suzie's Cup of Joy"

Iced Latte for the husband and Iced Cappuchino for me...


Sundried Tomato and Mozzarella Panini for him...


....this huge Beetroot and Falafel Salad for me.

Followed by a slow stroll to the less busy end of the beach for an ice cream...

........ and two very unflattering photos of myself that husband sneakily took...

I am wearing my unglamourous "cataract sunglasses" as advised by my optician.
They fit over my regular glasses, and despite looking very unattractive , stop my eyes hurting in sunlight

All this is on our doorstep and a place we regularly visit.

Another hot bus ride home to be greeted by a rather grumpy cat who hates hot weather 

and putting the kettle on for a welcome cuppa.

My shoes were full of sand

Happy day 

Thursday, 15 June 2017

The Price of Salvation

I have , what my husband calls "an annoying habit"....I talk to people I don't know!

If I am in a queue, or at the bus stop , or sitting next to someone on the bus, I have this tendency to start a conversation.

This has resulted in some interesting discussion, both light and frivolous and deep and meaningful.

One such "deep and meaningful" conversation happened at the bus stop on Monday. 
Had just missed my bus so had thirteen minutes to wait. Was soon joined by someone I vaguely knew to speak to as they live round the corner from us.

They knew I went to the Baptist Church and that we believe in the need to be 'born again' which I was asked about .

Then out of the blue, this was dropped into the conversation....
" Why does the gospel offend so many people?"

That made me think.

As usually happened I thought of a better answer when I got home and had time to sit and think!

Why does the gospel appear to be so distasteful, so offensive? It is mostly off putting to people who feel they have everything, materially, socially, career wise. People who believe that they are entitled to all they 'have' .

The gospel sounds like a tragedy: die to yourself and you'll live.

Salvation sounds like bad news: we are saved not because we are brave, clean and reverent; but because we are dead and our life is hid with Christ in God.

Salvation has nothing to do with turning 'bad men' into 'good men' but 'dead men' into living men.

You can see why the good news of salvation is offensive to those who think they 'have it all'...it doesn't  apply to them does it?

The good news of the gospel only applies to those who recognise that they are 'losers', be it rich folk, poor folk and all those in between.

Each must consider himself a loser if he wants a seat at the King's banquet:-

Luke 14:16-24    New International Version (NIV)
16 Jesus replied: “A certain man was preparing a great banquet and invited many guests. 17 At the time of the banquet he sent his servant to tell those who had been invited, ‘Come, for everything is now ready.’
18 “But they all alike began to make excuses. The first said, ‘I have just bought a field, and I must go and see it. Please excuse me.’
19 “Another said, ‘I have just bought five yoke of oxen, and I’m on my way to try them out. Please excuse me.’
20 “Still another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’
21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’
22 “‘Sir,’ the servant said, ‘what you ordered has been done, but there is still room.’
23 “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and compel them to come in, so that my house will be full. 24 I tell you, not one of those who were invited will get a taste of my banquet.’”

The price of salvation is high, and yes, we should sit down and count the cost. But when the counting is done there is that absolute certainty that everything we have as a born again believer is exactly the right price for a seat at the banquet.

All you have to be is a certified loser and God will send His servant Jesus to positively drag you into His House.

Be like the yellow duckling I came across recently, who looks nothing like his siblings, no idea why.........and stand out from the crowd. 

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Ancestry DNA

This email appeared in my in box a few days ago....exciting!!!!

(Elsie Joy Barker is my name at birth...but have always been called Joy or EJ)

Three months ago my eldest daughter presented me with a Ancestry DNA kit, so that the result would hopefully, arrive in time for my birthday...which is in six days time....

She had her DNA  analysed at the beginning of the year with some surprising and very interesting results.

My children have a West Indian Father which accounted for the very diverse results.

Was not expecting any surprises in my DNA results, apart from the Irish and French Grandmother's.

This is what my results are:---

So where did the Scandinavian connection come from I wonder??

We knew from the extensive research done on the family tree of both my parents lineage that no one had moved far from the Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire/Leicestershire area; so no surprises there .

The most exciting thing though is that there are four confirmed  third cousin DNA matches, and six  fourth cousin DNA matches.

The Ancestry.co.uk web site allows me to send messages to these cousins who are anonymous. It is up to them if they wish to make contact.

I do hope some one does, don't you?

Now my other daughter wants to get her DNA done just to see if she has any Irish blood, as none showed up in her sister.

Long time since I did DNA mapping in Human Biology classes so am not 100% sure how the links are formed.

Happy Birthday indeed

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

What now?

I 'suffer' from an auto immune disease called Polymyalgia Rheumatica, it is not life threatening, just blooming annoying.

It comes and goes, triggered by a trauma or incidence of excessive stress.

I have been in remission for just over six years ...until now.

If you remember, last May I had the fall that damaged my knee, that was the trigger for this relapse.

As my Rheumatologist reminds me  "PMR takes a year to cook"...
....then there is a "year, or eighteen months of hell"...
....followed by a "year of tapering off"   before it fades into the background again.

(If you have PMR for longer then it is Fibromyalgia. They are similar in symptoms but with distinct, notable differences)

Well, I have had my year of "cooking" now I prepare myself for the year ahead. 

Having been here before so know what to expect and will weather the storm without the offered medication. As always I refuse the mega doses of steroids to take for two years minimum, or the offer of Methotrexate.

Am used to living with chronic pain so this just takes it up a notch, it is the limited mobility that annoys! So will just get the walking stick out of moth balls ready for use and carry on.
And get to visit my rheumatologist more often...Thursday this week again.

The photos are off a walk my husband took two weeks ago to see the Bluebells in the wood. 
We were a week late really as they were just past their best, but uplifting to the soul none the less.

This fallen branch was covered in a velvety moss that was wonderful to the touch.

Hoping some one somewhere is having warmer weather than we are in the UK...it is mighty chilly and extremely windy......brrrrr