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, 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.