Monday, 16 November 2015

Playground brawl politics #paris #peace #politics

Let me be clear at the outset; I am not condoning the attacks in Paris on Friday; or those in Beirut or Baghdad or Syria or Libya or Kenya or anywhere else!

But how governments respond to these attacks should not be the politics of playground fighting. One attack should not be followed by an immediate attack in retaliation!  Just as one punch in a playground should not be followed by an immediate punch in retaliation. 

We are desperately trying to teach our children to breathe and make good decisions when in conflict situations; and yet they see governments model the exact opposite.  And worse, our children see their governments attack the friends of their attackers and believe this is acceptable. This is not appropriate.  This will not lead to a world of peace for our children.

Our governments should be reflecting and mourning and and planning sensible ways of protecting themselves against the extremely small number of terrorists rather than attacking communities where innocent families become collateral damage.

The actions of France bombing Syria in retaliation will only breed hate; and hate can not ever lead to peace.

I understand the anger, fear and hatred; but hate should not breed more hate. 

Attack should not lead to attacks. 

The death of innocents should not result in the death of yet more innocents. 

In the words of Martin Luther King Jr
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction....
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength To Love, 1963

Father of peace
I beg you today to be on the hearts of all those filled with hatred. Bring light into their darkness. Bring patience into their panic. Bring your love into the situations and let peace be the focus.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Church Vision #msm #ms

The last two days have been brought to you by ...
The words Church and Vision. 
And the letters M and S. 

Let me explain.

Yesterday was the second Thames Valley MSM (Mission Shaped Ministry) day at CMS Oxford.  We were thinking about the mission of God, missional values and the Vision we have for the Church in the future and our role in that.  Despite not having enough vision to read the slides or handouts the day was inspiring and set off all sorts of new ideas in my head.  I came home clear that I'm called to be part of many others bringing forth God's Vision for the Church and the World of all encompassing love and acceptance.

Then today I was with the teenagers at church and we were thinking about the attacks in Paris and Beirut and Baghdad and about how we need to be bold in our faith.  I was challenged in our time of prayer to be bold in my faith in God to heal; to heal my vision, heal the injured, heal the grieving, heal the world.   And for the first time, encouraged by one of our newer church members, I prayed for specific healing of my vision, trusting that God can do that.

Throughout the morning in Church today it was clear how little vision I have thanks to MS.
- I couldn't tell where the side aisle was and so had to go down the main aisle instead.
- I couldn't see space at the dais but, without realising the blessing they were, someone moved to let me in to receive.
- I couldn't see the cup properly and was worried I'd spill the wine, but the server was another blessing and made sure it was all OK.
- Then when I'd received I turned around and could not figure out where to go at all; I just couldn't see seats or even the aisle.  But I could see the kids at the front so I went towards them and sat next to them.
- As the hymn was announced I realised I couldn't see the hymn board and then quickly realised I couldn't see the hymn book. But it was "shine Jesus shine" and I know every word to that so it didn't matter.

There I was, in the Church I know and love and minister in; yet due to my vision loss I could have felt lost and separate from everyone else.  But I didn't and I wasn't; because people care and l wasn't alone and I wasn't afraid.  I was supported, encouraged and prayed for.  

This weekend I have been energised by the vision and practice of MSM in our church.  We ARE a mission shaped church with a vision to welcome, love and support each other and our community.  Although I have been affected by MS this weekend, I have not been depleted or defeated by it; and I won't be.

This post is also online at my side blog MS Calling where I've recently started blogging.

Friday, 13 November 2015

MS Calling

MS Calling
For Everything Neuro
Right Now.

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

Light a candle for someone online

The Church of England has launched their funeral project, with lots of information to help anyone who might want to have a funeral with prayers and hymns.  It's well worth a look.
One part of this project is "light a candle" which leads you through remembering someone and lighting a candle online in their memory.  It is beautiful and has really touched me today when I'm too ill to get to church but wanted to pray for someone.

The link to the light a candle is
Or just click the image below

Saturday, 31 October 2015

Keep Talking Jesus

You might have seen the headlines in The Telegraph kicking the church yet again by saying "talking about Jesus puts people off".  Oh yes, that got my blood boiling.

And then I read the whole article and I was almost apoplectic; the Church of England says this itself?  What planet are we on now?

Let me be clear, I've read this report. In fact I was at the first ever presentation of the report and has fascinating conversations about it's findings and the HOPE it brought to me as a pioneer that our country is open to Jesus conversations.

So, I hear you ask, how can these two paragraphs be talking about the same thing? And I'm with you in that question.

But you know what?
I think it comes down to one simple thing.
We either think positively about what we CAN do and HOPE and PRAY that it does some good.
Or we curl up in a ball and allow every possible problem to overwhelm us and give up for good.

I know which one of these options Jesus showed us how to do.
He went out and met people
He talked to them and healed them
He shouted at some and prayed with others
He took risks
He didn't turn his back on a challenge
And he never gave up

So neither shall I.
I see clear hope and possibility in this report when it says that when we talk about Jesus 20% of people want to know more.

One fifth
One in five

That's a better hit rate than a lot of marketing strategies manage; and I for one am going to take that and run with it.

We met almost 100 kids this week at our HALO holiday club. That means, on these statistics alone, 20 will want to know more about Jesus.  Hallelujah.

I talk about my faith in God through my own ill health and over 190 people read it; that means that 38 people may want to know more. How awesome is that.  And that's only if I'm average. And I'll leave that decision to you.

I refuse to focus on the 80% who aren't interested every time I speak about Jesus; it's not that I don't care about them, but that I don't worry about them.  I will only focus on sharing my faith widely and being alongside those who are wanting to know more right now. 

Now all I have to do is convince the lay chair of synod to feel equally as positive.  Here's praying.

You can read the report and see all the results and presentations at

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Perhaps I care too much

Perhaps I care too much
I can't just let it go
The fact that I upset you
Tears me apart with guilt
And if it's you that upset me
Then I'm sure it's still my fault

Perhaps I care too much
It goes around my mind
Every comment thrown away
Or look that I can't define
I know it's my wrongdoing
And it takes up all my time

Perhaps I care too much
I'm weighed down with memories
I can't just let it go
No matter how I try
My mind will not forget
I cry my eyes bone dry

Perhaps I care too much
Every single thing I say
I analyse all day
Every stupid thing I do
I worry and obsess about
Is this not normal, don't you?

Perhaps I care too much
But I've always been this way
Grieving at every famine
Curled up in pain at disasters
Wishing I could mend the world
And feeling like a failure

Perhaps I care too much
You can't make everyone like you
I'm told, and I know it's true
But I'm not built to ignore
And it matters so much to me
I take it to heart till I'm sore

Perhaps I care too much
And if I didn't I'd feel relieved
But I've learned that this is me
I can't thicken my skin and not care
Even though I'm sure I'd feel better
So in my pain I have to share

It drives me mad
On Facebook I hang
Wondering how to act
Don't want to upset
Yet others do it to me
That must be my fault
What is it they see
Am I am awful person
I really must be
Friends lost in time
Their fault or mine
I feel such guilt
Wish I could mend
But don't feel good enough
That's it in the end
I don't like me
So how can they
And when they turn away
It's another proof today
Of who I am
Like she always said
Not good enough
I should be dead

But no
Not now
That's not the way to think
It's written down but I won't act on it
Because I'm stronger right now
And I've written it down
I know I'm OK
I'm loved and liked
Those who turn their backs
They're missing out
That's the mantra
If I believe it or not
That's what to repeat
Repeat it a lot
And remind myself
Through family and friends
That I'm worth loving
Because I care so much

Not too much
How can anyone care too much

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Thank you for saying that you're thinking about me @bbcberkshire #blaw15 #SayingThanksBLAW15

This year, for Babyloss awareness week, the miscarriage association have asked us to share what people have said to us which have helped when we've been grieving our miscarriages.  This is less about "what" anyone says and more about the fact that people can say almost "anything" because it's being alongside someone that means so much.

Well this morning I went on our local BBC radio station to talk about my four miscarriages and about the service of remembrance we are holding this afternoon in Reading Minster.  I also shared about friends who texted to let me know they were thinking about me and still do this on the birthdays of my babies.

Thank you for saying ... You are thinking about me ... It meant more than you'll ever know.


If you'd like to hear my story including how the miscarriage association helped me so much, hear my poem which I'll be reading at the service this afternoon and hear about my ministry to encourage churches to support bereaved families then follow this link and I'm on from 2hrs 8mins.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone Illustrated Edition #BookReview

I was so excited to receive my copy of J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone book illustrated by Jim Kay.  The cover alone was a thrill with it's depiction of Platform 9 and 3/4 complete with Harry, his cases and Hedwig.

Inside the illustrations bring the story to life afresh, managing to banish the movie images in my head (not that I have any problems with those) and somehow heightening those I had imagined when I first read the books.

There are dark, brooding scenes which capture the emotional lows of Harry's first year as a wizard; as well as bright spectacles of celebration.

This is a book I will spend hours revisiting; bringing the story to life again and again.  A coffee table book to flick through and enjoy in small chunks or large sessions.  A joy to behold.

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tears Poem v2015 #nationalpoetryday

Tears were welling in my eyes
Tears of shock, a bad surprise
I couldn't believe I'd had the news
Please forgive my watery blues

Tears were flowing every day
Tears of baby, gone away
As I opened sympathy cards
I couldn't stop, it was too hard

Tears still come, now and then
Tears of grief, that might not end
But with God's help, reduce enough 
That I will smile, won't feel so rough

Tears just show that I've been hurt
Tears like these can heal my heart
So when you cry, don't turn away
Tears can flow freely here today

This is a reworking of the original poem Tears from my book "This is my story; This is my song".  I will be reading this at the Babyloss Remembrance Service at Reading Minster this Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Now the decision is made

There's been debate and analysis
Tables, scores and confusion
Visits by day and evening
And loads of discussion

It's such a huge decision
But in the end with prayer
And support both far and near
We put trust ahead of fear

Wherever she spends these years
She'll always have us on side
That'll get her through it all
And we'll be full of pride

And now the decision is made
By her, as much as us
We just complete the form
And submit with no more fuss

This image is from PPP camp; the words are how other people at church see our gorgeous girl.