Thursday, 31 March 2011

A sign of healing

Tonight I was driving home from a meeting and Robbie Williams came on the radio singing "Angels". I love this song, especially since seeing it sung at Knebworth:

Why have I always loved it?
Because of it's ability to touch my emotional depths, to bring tears when needed.

However it became extremely hard to hear after loosing Kendi, and ever since. I tend to avoid it unless I am able to deal with the emotions it stirs. And they have been massive when tapped.

But tonight I realised I was singing along, enjoying the song again, feeling the joy of the words without the tears and pain. This is a true sign of healing, one I never expected to experience. Thank you God.

Is twitter banal?


This is the question I get asked more than any other about twitter;
isn't it all just banal stuff?
The answer has always been pure and simple NO
And this week I have truly encountered the opposite of banality on twitter; I have shared pain and confusion, and I have received support, prayer, sharing and complete understanding and acceptance.

I value my twitterverse friends, I travel with them through their tweets, I pray for them when needed and I now know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they do the same for me.

Nuff Said.

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

God delusion?

It's a strange situation being married to and best friends with Aestheists and yet being in a very real relationship with God and in ministry for Him.

I know God, love Him and am loved by Him.
I journey with Jesus, sharing in his human life 2000 years later.
I am a conduit for the Holy Spirit and trust on His power in my life.

Yet those I love think what about this:
That I'm deluded?
That God is my invisible friend?
That I'm desperately searching for meaning?

I see it in the rolling eyes, the smiles, the jokes; they aren't being mean or unsupportive, they just don't understand what it is I feel, believe and know.

So I'm on a mission; not to convert, but to talk to these people I love and respect and try to understand what it is they think and believe. If they think I'm having a God delusion I'd like to talk about it, rather than avoid the subject as we have for years.

Hope they're up for it too :)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sent out by God

Send us out

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I have been hearing two things a lot recently.

1 - "Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the holy spirit." Matthew 28:19

2 - "send us out in the power of your spirit, to live and work to your praise and glory."

And then today, when tidying my study I found this card, given by a friend at least a year ago.  And it's speaking to me all the more.

I know not what it means beyond the familiar, but it feels comforting more than challenging.  I feel sent out, I feel spirit powered, I work for God.  And for now, I will hold that and keep praying on what it might mean.

Perhaps supervision this evening might shed light? 
Who knows.  
{apart from Him :) }

Praying for Fukushima Japan

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Today I read this article in the new scientist online, the chemicals seem to be increasing after the explosions at the nuclear plant. And so we pray:

Father of all, giver of life
Be with all those affected by the earthquake in Japan
Hold them in your loving care; body and soul
Walk alongside those working to clear up and repair
And help quell the fears of those who suffer
We ask this from afar,
in your Son Jesus' name

Why go on retreat?

I have just completed week ten of the Open Door Retreat, a weekly group retreat based on the St Ignatian Spiritual Exercises.

It has been a spiritual rollercoaster; with ups and downs and some gravity defying moments in between.  One thing is sure though, I've learned more about myself and my relationship with God than I ever would have believed possible.

So what are the benefits of retreat?
Why would I recommend that you go on retreat if you have the opportunity?

1. Time
Making time in your diary for a retreat and associated daily prayer can seem impossible, I know!  But if you manage to do so, you will be rewarded with time which gives clarity, insight and essentially more time.

2. Listening
You are listened to; by God, by the retreat leaders and by the other retreatants.  At the same time you are able to listen to others, the leaders and to God Himself.

3. Prayer
This is a fabulous gift of retreat, the strengthening of your prayer life.  I was not looking forward to adding into my daily prayer an additional element for the retreat, but it has been amazingly liberating.  I started with very segmented prayer but over ten weeks I have learned to pray more openly and generally and instinctively.

4. Relationship
I expected a retreat to improve my relationship with God, and it has; but I did not expect such a positive change in my other relationships.  I am more open to Mike about my faith, more open in prayer with Rachel, and more open to help from those who wish to support me.

5. Learning
The fifth benefit of retreat for me is learning; about myself, my belief system, my faith issues, my support structures, my weaknesses.  It has been gentle and subtle, but looking back it has been real.

If you get offered the chance to go on retreat, do it.  Don't hesitate.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Mothers day

This week and mothering Sunday in particular is hard for so many people who weren't mothered properly, or have lost their mother, or who long to be a mother but aren't.

I have been in some of these positions and mothering Sunday is both a celebration and a sad time for me.

But this week I will focus on:

We are all mothered by God, nurtured and loved and held gently; and from this we all have the ability to mother others.


Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sexuality is not societies business

I don't often read the Daily Mail but I was perusing the online papers and found this about a proposal for schools to question 11 year olds about their sexuality. Well I just have to comment.

If you are a regular reader here then you will know that I have LGB friends and feel all discrimination against sexuality should be outlawed. This needs to be said so that my comments are not taken out of context.

It is completely inappropriate to question anyone about their sexuality, it is a private and personal issue for individuals to share as and if they wish to. When talking about children and teenagers this is even more important.

I understand that the pretexts for this questioning is to support the young people and e sure they are not bullied; but really, it is not necessary to know someones sexuality (even if they know what that means or what theirs is) to support them unconditionally.

I have a nasty feeling that this proposal is a way in, to collect data and use it for some sort of research purposes. Our children should not be subjected to this.

I've a better idea, spend the research money on Educating and supporting parents of children who are having a difficulty understanding or accepting their sexuality, there's an idea.

Census 2011

Census 2011

It is the day, the once a decade day, the day of the 2011 census.  

This is a huge deal to me for the following reasons:
1. It is part of history, the results of what we provide today will remain of interest through hundreds of years to come, amazing!
2. I love statistics; not rubbish reporting of them, but pure unadulterated statistics about people.
3. I am fascinated in my local community and can't wait to find out how we are made up in terms of households, employment and faith.
4. It's the first time Rachel will show on the census record.

And so today I have been debating whether to complete the census on the paper version or to complete it online.  Do I want to follow the path of history and provide my own handwriting? Or show, as part of the census completion, that I am very much a part of the Internet age?

I have gone for the latter, it seems fitting that since I do everything possible online, I will complete the census online.

Happy census completion, today we mark a specific point in historic.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

God children rock

I am sure I've blogged on being a godmother a few times before, but hey if somethings worth saying it's worth saying a couple of times.

Today is my Godsons 4th birthday; and it's now 3 years since his christening when I made the promises to be his godmother. I couldn't go to his birthday party (not that it was me who was invited) because Rachel is sick, but I did manage to go see him this afternoon and give him a huh and his presents.

And that's when it hit me, I love this boy and his brother (and his parents are pretty cool too) and they are family to me. Through choice, not blood, I and my family are bonded to them to support, nurture and love through thick and thin. I would do anything for this boy and hope he always knows he can ask me. And this is why god children rock; they help me get over the "not good enough" by reflecting back to me that I am enough for them by just trying enough.

It's also worth saying, and I don't think I have before, that that's why I love and cherish my god parents and am forever grateful to Rachels.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Flahback Friday

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This weeks flashback Friday is me holding Rachel when she was just one week old. She was tiny and fragile and beautiful and she needed me entirely.

This week I have been taken back to that place of new motherhood as I watch her ill with scarlet fever, unable to do much and full of fear and love. I'm Shocked how vulnerable she can still be even at 5 years old. I'm thrilled she's getting better and arguing with daddy again. I'm watching her rash like a hawk and I'm very aware that motherhood is a challenge as well as a blessing forever more.

If you have never blogged a Flashback Friday then I highly recommend it for a number of reasons:
1. It's a great excuse to go into your photo archives and have a rummage
2. Pictures cam be more powerful than words
3. Everything cones into focus when you think back
4. It's just good old fashioned fun

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Real Easter Eggs Review part 1

Have you heard of "The Real Easter Egg"?

Here is their website

These are Fairtrade chocolate Easter eggs that have been designed to Put Jesus back into Easter

The Real Easter Egg is the first and only Fairtrade chocolate Easter Egg to explain the Christian understanding of Easter on the box. It also supports charity and development projects - buying everything from medical equipment for new mums here at home, to chickens and securing fresh water for farmers in Africa.

Well I was lucky enough to get my hands one four of them, yes FOUR! And seeing as how they have sold out I'm thrilled to have pre-ordered and received mine. I obviously haven't tried the chocolate (hence this is review part 1) but I have enjoyed reading the box. I am seriously impressed with the images and delivery of the Easter story.


Now all that's left is deciding who to give them to.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Free schools: creationism, RE and teachers

This article in The Guardian has caught my attention.  

The article is centred around the fact that creationism will not be allowed to be taught in free schools, that science is science based on facts including evolution. Fabulous, I agree.

Of course I would also like to see that free schools, in fact ALL schools teach religious education that covers the broad spectrum of beliefs in all world faiths. Surely our children need to be taught varying beliefs, practices and views to be able to understand and be tolerant.

But that aside, what worries me in the article is one little sentence hidden away:

Teachers working at free schools will also not need to have formal teaching qualifications

Pardon me? Are you kidding?  So these are state funded schools, that don't need qualified teachers? 

Now surely that should be the headline!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Worry enough

Seeing as how I'm on the theme of "not enough" I thought I'd focus on something I do more than enough of and know I should do less of ... Worrying!

I am a professional worrier, with over 30 years of worrying under my belt I am listed by the institution of national wireless. I have worried about being late, being early; being over dressed, being under-dressed; being too confident, being too full of doubt. I worried about the past, future and present; I worried.

I have put much of this worrying in the past tense because I am pleased to tell you that I worry less than I used to. And for that I have the twelve steps to thank. But it is a habit I can fall back into easily.

Today is one of those days; Rachel is sick with a high fever and "possible scarlet fever" and whilst she now sleeps I watch her and worrying is happening. Is she warm enough? Too warm? Should I check her rash? Or let her sleep? Will this sleep now help her recover or causes problem tonight?

And mostly: will she be OK?
And so I hand over my worries about and for her to God; Lord hold my baby girl safe and bring her through this. Amen.

Monday, 21 March 2011

good enough

Over the years I have read books, been counselled, heard sermons, delivered sermons, received healing, attended seminars and even written essays about being good enough, but it's not going in.

I can't accept it.

I think I do enough.
I think I pray enough.
I think I help others enough.
I think I listen enough.
I think I mother enough.
But I don't FEEL good enough.

Not good enough to....
Be loved
Be heard
Be called
Be accepted

It is a deep healing I need in me, one that I work on all the time, one which is being dealt with in Open Door Retreat this week as I stand at the foot of the cross.

And so today, again I pray; Lord heal my inability to hear that I am good enough for you.

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Supermoon marvel

Mark your calendar. On March 19th, a full Moon of rare size and beauty will rise in the east at sunset. It's a super "perigee moon"--the biggest in almost 20 years.
"The last full Moon so big and close to Earth occurred in March of 1993," says Geoff Chester of the US Naval Observatory in Washington DC. "I'd say it's worth a look."
Full Moons vary in size because of the oval shape of the Moon's orbit. It is an ellipse with one side (perigee) about 50,000 km closer to Earth than the other (apogee): diagram. Nearby perigee moons are about 14% bigger and 30% brighter than lesser moons that occur on the apogee side of the Moon's orbit.

And amazing it was, as we walked out our front door I was astounded to see the moon so low and orange and HUGE!

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To marvel at the miracle of the heavens is to feel our smallness and fragility.

Planning when to preach

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As an LLM not yet licensed I don't have an official ministerial agreement. That's not a problem, Things work great without one, in fact I'm not sure it will be anything more than bureaucracy (don't tell anyone I said so).

So the way things work when planning services is the following:
- N calls me and asks when I'd like to preach/lead/preside
- I look through my diary and exclude weeks I'm doing Sunday school
- I am clear about my weekend off (when we go to our flat)
- N highlights any services that need filling to see if I can help
- We agree one 1130 leading and one 930 preaching in the month
- N might also ask about my availability for special service eg holy week

Perfect, all are happy.

But it's got me thinking, how do other LLMs/Readers/Curates/NSMs arrange when they will preach, lead and preside?

Friday, 18 March 2011

Rachel raised £275 for comic relief on red nose day 2011

The title says it all

Rachel raised £275 for comic relief on red nose day 2011.

1 month in the planning
2 people organising (Rachel age 5 and her mum)
3 types of cake made - chocolate, plain and crispie
4 weeks gathering sponsors
5 eggs whisked into cake mixes
6 adults helping to sell the cakes
7 children baking altogether
8 trays of cakes baked
9 different toppings
10 out of 10!

I am so proud of her.

Thanks to all who encouraged, sponsored, baked, sold and bought.

Especially to Ben and his friends; Rachael and family, and Adam and Ben.

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Thursday, 17 March 2011

Comic relief eve

As those of you who read the blog I write with Rachel ( will know, we are now all ready for the big red nose day cake sale tomorrow.

Rachel wanted to raise £200.
She decided to be sponsored to bake cakes on Wednesday 16th.
And then wanted to sell them on red nose day - tomorrow.

Well she made over 135 cakes yesterday!
And has raised £195 to date.

So now I'm off to bed to be rested before the huge day tomorrow when I will help her sell her cakes at school.

I'm proud as anything, not because she's actually done it, but because she knew she could try and refused to give up. If I've given her nothing else in 5 years, I'm thrilled she has that.

Brother sister let me serve you

This hymn has been going round my head constantly since Sunday, God's trying to tell me something I just can't figure out what.

Any ideas?

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Open door retreat - who is Jesus?

Mark 8:27-30
Who do people say I am?
Who do you say I am?

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So who is Jesus for me?
I empathise with Peter's mother in law experience of Jesus.  He came to her sick bed, touched her hand and she was healed.  For me Jesus is a healer; a healer of my heart, my soul, my thoughts, my faith and belief in life.

It didn't happen as fast as a touch of the hand, it's ongoing, but the fact is it IS happening.  I am being healed.

For me Jesus is my constant healing companion, my safe place, my rock.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Jesus' Incarnation

As part of the open door retreat we have been looking at different aspects of our christian faith and our relationship with God. Last week we came to session with items which reflected Jesus' incarnation to us; I brought a photo of Rachel as a newborn, very much a real demonstration of God in my life. Others brought items meaningful for them which I will leave their own personal business. And today I am thrilled to share with you a song which one of our group wrote, in next to no time, following reflection, prayer and discussion on incarnation.

I hope this touches you as much as it does me, Ruth is a fantastic woman and a talented songwriter. I am thrilled to have met her and to call her a friend in Christ.

Royal wedding street party

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I have been debating what to do to celebrate Prince William's wedding to Kate; do we go up to London and sleep on the route so we get a great view; or perhaps we go up on the morning; or we have a street party. I've weighing up the pros and cons and here's how it went.

Sleeping on route:
- close
- could be a great view
- experience of a lifetime
- really atmospheric
- uncomfortable
- would a 5 year old stick it out
- would we really be able to see

Travelling up on the day:
- experience of a lifetime
- really atmospheric
- exciting
- extremely busy
- wouldn't get anywhere near close to the route
- wouldn't see a thing

Having a street party:
- see the parade and ceremony in detail on tv
- really relaxed day
- brings the community together
- would be a memorable day
- comfortable and safe with toilets nearby
- a whole heap of fun if it cones together
- much cheaper

So there we go, decision made, we are going to (try) and organise a royal wedding street party with bunting and BBQs and everything. Now to sort out how to get people interested.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray

Now I lay me down to sleep,
I pray the Lord my soul to keep,
Lord, be with me through the night
And keep me 'til the morning light.

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Sunday afternoon reflection on sermon

I know I shouldn't do this, that's it's better left till Tuesday, but I need it out of my head and hope sharing it might help.

I had a whole all-age sermon planned today on the lectionary reading of Matthew 4:1-11 temptation in the desert. It was inspired through prayer, but not as 'given' as previously I've experienced sermon prep. But I was pleased with the plan and the messages.

I stood up, walked to the front of church and felt more energised than previously. I headed straight head long into it; mousetraps, blindfolds and all. At that moment I knew my things were going to be out of my hands, and a little bit of panic rose. Luckily that was superseded by words and actions and the ability to respond to the congregation participation. From that point on I can't tell you what I said, I touched some of the points I intended but it was definitely out of my hands. I did glance at my notes part way through and realised I was not on plan, but went with it anyway.

I finished when it ended, I was dazed and exhausted physically. I went back to my seat and sat, drained but not worried. A few people spoke to me and I realised I was concerned, because I had no idea what had been actually delivered. But now,several hours on, I'm aware that I was truly just a conduit today. And so I rest and recover from what feels like a marathon run, in awe of what the Holy Spirit can do despite myself.

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Bible reading confession

I must confess, it has been too long to pretend otherwise, I have already failed to "read the bible in one year".

I was following the course by Holy Trinity Brompton and all was going well until the end of February, and then I was focussed more on morning prayer, open door retreat prayer and my own meditation. In fact looking at that last sentence I'm now giving myself a break, I 'might' have committed to too much.

So God I ask for forgiveness that I have again failed to follow a plan to read the bible in a year. Good job God loves me anyway :).

Friday, 11 March 2011

Tsunami and Earthquake Prayers

Today we woke to the news of the Earthquake in Japan.
Let us pray for all those killed, injured or lost under the rubble of the collapse. May the rescuers find the strength they need, the medical experts the skills they need and the injured or lost the courage they need.

Then we heard that the quake had triggered a tsunami.
Father we bring before you all those engulfed by the wave as it travels across the ocean, may you comfort those in need and hold all who grieve.

And now we watch and wait to see the damage that is to come.
Lord we watch in fear, not knowing what will beset the pacific islands and countries as this tsunami travels across the ocean. We pray your peace on those in fear, your guidance for those who make plans to mitigate the risks, and your blessing on those who wait.

Father be with us all, Amen.

Quench Christian Bookshop

You can't beat a local christian bookshop for bibles; courses; books on everything christian, church and God; crosses for walls, shelves, necks and more; cards; music and good old fashioned advice. It is the latter which I especially value in Quench at Holme Grange Craft Village in Wokingham (and no they haven't sponsored me, and no they don't know I'm writing this).

I went in today to buy a few things:
1 - my lent course book
2 - Rachel's first cross necklace which I will give her at Eastr
3 - a standing cross for my study which I can use at prayer meetings etc

Well I got all those things, but I also got a whole load more. I got a warm welcome, a chat about my ministry since I last went in before christmas, a few laughs and the knowledge that my purchases keep a valuable local business in the business of selling books and providing a mission point in the community.

If you have a christian bookshop near you please support it, they are an invaluable resource in the high street.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Lent Course

Every year I have the debate about what course to follow through Lent. Sometimes it is given to me, for example if we are planning to follow one as a church or a home group. But sometimes that doesn't feel 'right', and sometimes there is nothing offered which I haven't done before. As is the case this year.

And can you believe it's taken me until today to finally settle on which course to follow - better late than never. This is the course I am following this year

I have chosen this partly because I adore CS Lewis and his writings about christianity, the church and God; partly because his stories speak to me and also to Rachel and so I hope that together we might be able to explore; and partly because the cover spoke to me.

So is anyone else following this course this lent? Anyone who fancies sharing with me along the weeks upto Easter? I'd love to have some company.

Big society: understood?

Big society not understood

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I have had my concerns about the 'big society' since it was first mentioned.  Not because it is a bad idea per se; but because politicising a natural system of volunteering and community support is bound to complicate things.  

And lo and behold, I've been asked a range of questions in the last few weeks which leads me to believe volunteering and charity work is indeed understood - thanks Big Society plans!  People I know well have all recently realised that I'm not paid for any of my ministry and charity roles.  It's come about as I've needed to find ways to make some cash to fund my ability to volunteer.  People have been genuinely shocked that I am chair of a preschool charity and that's a voluntary role, and that being an LLM is unpaid.

I don't believe that society would have previously assumed these sorts of roles would be paid, I certainly never did; but our society now assumes that volunteering is only for menial jobs, not the big things.

I am pleased that now I can help people understand the depth and breadth of volunteering in society; the number of charities that rely on the generosity of time, the vast range of volunteering opportunities.  But really Big Society; don't you see how government interference has changed the perception if ordinary people about charities???

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ash, Sin and God

I am sorry God.
I am a sinner.
I repent.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of lent. The start of 40 days (Sundays don't count) of repentance for Christians. And we mark this with a service, a beautiful service of Ashing. Last years palm crosses are burned and the ash is placed on the forehead in the sign of the cross. Ash is a symbol of mourning and repentance, and so we mourn our losses and our sins and we repent. And God forgives us, again and again and again.

I love the Ashing service, it starts lent perfectly for me. I need to feel forgiven and today I get a very physical reminder that I am.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Shrove Tuesday

Today is pancake day, lovely fantastically delicious pancake day. It is shrove tuesday, it is the day before the start of lent, it is the start of an important season for christians.

As a family we always make pancakes on shrove tuesday; it's something which we would never miss. We also talk about what we might give up for Lent. Even Mike tries to give something up. So this morning Rachel and I were talking about what we would give up for lent.

Something we know we can actually manage (not chocolate),
something that means something (not cabbage),
something that would help us think about Jesus when we want to eat it.

And Rachel chose biscuits; not the easier option of crisps, but biscuits.
She even said "that will be hard at church but church is where Jesus definitely is so I think I will be OK."

I am going to join her, I have less faith that I'll be able to manage it, but I will try my absolute hardest and take my inspiration from the hope and faith of a child.

For those who'd like to know a little more about lent here is a great explanation from the BBC Religions Pages.

Lent is the period of 40 days which comes before Easter in the Christian calendar. Beginning on Ash Wednesday, Lent is a season of reflection and preparation before the celebrations of Easter. By observing the 40 days of Lent, Christians replicate Jesus Christ's sacrifice and withdrawal into the desert for 40 days. Lent is marked by fasting, both from food and festivities.

Why 40 days?
40 is a significant number in Jewish-Christian scripture:
•In Genesis, the flood which destroyed the earth was brought about by 40 days and nights of rain.
•The Hebrews spent 40 years in the wilderness before reaching the land promised to them by God.
•Moses fasted for 40 days before receiving the ten commandments on Mount Sinai.
•Jesus spent 40 days fasting in the wilderness in preparation for his ministry.
Most Christians regard Jesus' time in the wilderness as the key event for the duration of Lent.

Monday, 7 March 2011

Going deeper with God

Tomorrow is the next session of the open door retreat, I'm not sure which week we are in, but it's past half way.

This week we have been praying to know Jesus more intimately and love him more ardently so we can serve him more closely.

You won't be surprised to hear that it's been a challenging week, but it's also been much more settling than last week.

Those who read will have seen my post "help God" which poured out the confusion I was feeling. It was exacerbated last Tuesday but is much clearer today. I am not called to the priest hood, not now (I've learned to say no more than that); the LLM calling is where God wants me. And it has only been through prayer and bible study that I have come back through to clarity.

Thank you God for this journey going deeper, it's winding and holly but worth it

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Christening Reflections

Today was an absolutely fabulous day. A God day indeed. I became a godmother again, this time to a beautiful baby girl who I adore and am thrilled to have in my family.

It has been a few years since I was at a christening at a church other than my own, and it reminded me how fantastic it is to experience other churches and their ways. This service was relaxed and energetic, short and thoughtful, welcoming and inclusive, Godly and community based. In short it is a wonderful service for families, for anyone exploring church and definitely for baptisms.

It was especially lovely to be "anonymous", by which I mean I was there as a godparent and family friend, not as an LLM. I could just relax, it is a rare pleasure and one which I guess I will appreciate even more with time.

After the service we went back to the family house. There was the family with their wider family, the older boys' godmother and Mike, Rachel and I. It says a lot about a family that they welcomed us so readily into their midst without any pretence or nervousness about being themselves, the whole day was a blessing.

And tonight I am looking at the photos, especially the one at the top of this post, amazed at the wonder of godchildren and the sheer joy and honour it is to be asked to walk alongside them through each day of their life. I occassionally still long for a younger sibling for Rachel, but today realised the blessing which are those younger children in our lives which are very much a part of our family in everything but blood.

Today I became a Godmother again and Rachel became a Godsister.
Today was a God day; a great, always to be remembered God filled day.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Christening prayer

Tomorrow I become a godmother to E. It is a blessing and honour to be a guide and support for her through her life and to remind her often how much she is loved by her family, her godparents and God himself.

So tonight I pray a Christening Prayer
A special prayer for you baby
and all your family too;
May God grant many blessings
On this and every day for you.
May He bless you with joy and happiness
and show you every day,
His love is there to guide you
Every step along life's way.

Friday, 4 March 2011

Matthew 17:1-9 transfiguration

No I am not preaching this Sunday, I'm not even in my church this Sunday; better than that I'm at a friend's church becoming a godmother again on Sunday. I am blessed.

But I've just come from a ministry lunch where everyone was discussing this weeks lectionary gospel: Matthew 17:1-9 the transfiguration.

I love this piece, love the theme and the whole message, it speaks to me. And now in ministry the specific section which speaks to me is Jesus saying to his disciples "get up and do not be afraid". Well as readers of the blog will know, I have a 'special' relationship with fear! And so today and this Sunday I am reminded, right now, I need not be afraid.


Thursday, 3 March 2011

Loss of birth control

I have spent time this evening going through my very first blog

I have tidied it, cleaned up or removed old links that no longer work.

I have added the last two parts of the story which never made it onto the blog - funnily enough motherhood got in the way :)

And so now I just wanted people to know that it is there.

If you know someone experiencing fertility problems or baby loss who might like to read the experience of someone else, please share it, that's why I wrote it.

Vocational education

This article on the BBC today has got me thinking. The by-line of the article is:
Too many young people are doing vocational courses which boost league tables but do not lead to university or a job, a report says

The article goes on to say how there is going to be a review of which vocational courses will count for league-tables since some of these courses (which can count for upto 4 GCSEs) do not have any value for the students.

I strongly disagree!

When I was 16 about half of the school year stayed on at school to study A-levels, about a further quarter stayed on at school or at another college to undertake BTEC and similar vocational courses whilst the final quarter went out into the world of work. Each of us chose with our parents and teachers whichever route was best for us academically, socially and aspirationally. I had friends who went to colleges which could offer them vocational courses and they gained much from them, not just in the skills they were learning, but in the learning about how we each must take responsbility for our own lives and futures.

And I am sure that this is of equal importance for the current vocational courses to which the BBC article refers. Who takes these courses? Is it children who would otherwise not be engaged with education and who might stop attending school and fail to gain any qualifications? I would think this is the case for many, and for these children surely a vocational course such as these can only be a good thing.

Sure the courses might not lead to university, but let's be clear University is not right for everyone. The courses might not lead directly into a job, but that doesn't mean it has not developed the young person in a way which develops their skills and confidence for the work place.

I do not like society's current obsession with blind statistics and analysis, I feel it misses much of the benefits and issues around the measures; this is just one more area where a little common sense and understanding of circumstances might be more sensible.

World book day 2011 

It's world book day, a whole day to celebrate all things books.

I love books, absolutely adore them.  I love the information they impart, the humour they can spill out, the stories they bring to life, the pictures they draw, the emotions they convey, the learning they provide.

So I've been thinking; what are my milestone books?

Favourite Children's book: Winnie the pooh

Favourite teenage book: anything by judy bloom

First real adult book: lord of the rings

Favourite adult book: the hobbit

Top three authors: John Grisham, Sebastian Faulks, Bill Bryson

Most used book on the shelf: The Bible

Favourite reference book: The World Atlas

Book that changed my life: called or collared

Book I buy for others: the good enough mother

Book I first saw on stage: wind in the willows

Current book: No and Me

I'd love to hear your selections, please share.  Happy world book day.  Happy reading.  Off to switch on my kindle right now.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Miscarriage: women suffer still

I have been asked to write this for International Women's Day (8th March 2011).  Those of you who read my blog will have seen quite a few posts on miscarriage before; it is an important subject, one I've been through, one I help others through, one I wish was better understood and supported by society.  So today, a day when we focus on issues that are important to women, let us think about the issue of baby loss which so many women experience.

Here is mine.
I have suffered four miscarriages in first and second trimesters, the loss of these babies was the most traumatic experiences of my life and have shaped the life I now lead. I see each and every birth as a miracle now, how could it be anything else when for so many pregnancies birth is not guaranteed. I value human life above all else. I thank God for each successful healthy birth. 

I also attempt to raise awareness of miscarriage and still birth where-ever I can.  If even one woman knows where to turn if she suffers a miscarriage then some good has been done.  I have been amazed how many women I know have had at least one miscarriage, it's unbelievably common and it stays with women for life.  Before I had my miscarriages I knew NO-ONE who had been through it; it is such a quiet issue that it feels even more lonely when you're going through it.  I hope that in my lifetime women will be more aware, not scared by the risk, but aware of who can help if it happens.

I am a telephone support for the Miscarriage Association and run an annual Service of Remembrance for the Babyloss awareness week.  I also try to get into ante-natal clinics, obstetricians, sonography departments and midwife practices to bring the charitable support available for women to their attention.  Leaflets are provided free by charities if only hospitals would stock them.

There are a number of charities which support families who will not see their children grow up. Three which I will draw your attention to are the Miscarriage Association, baby loss awareness campaign and SANDS.  If you have suffered a miscarriage or still birth then please feel free to contact these charities for support; and please, be open about your experience with your family and friends, you're sharing could be a support to someone else in the future.

If you would like to read my other posts on the subject they are here:

Help God please

Matthew 28:19
"Go therefore, make disciples of all the nations; baptise them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the holy spirit."

Of all the gospel verses we were given this week in the open door retreat about calling this one jumped out at me repeatedly.  I am sure part of this is that I relate most easily to St Matthew's Gospel, but there were eight more from it I could have chosen.  

So why this one?  

What is it telling me?

Any thoughts?