Shadow Of Victory

Thursday, 20 December 2012


Well... the last day of Academy has been and gone....still have Sunday to serve with Konstruction Krew and then a blissful rest over the festive season. Today was a mixture of fun..laughter and tears, and lots of chocolate. I thought that as I was "home alone" tonight I would take a little time to reflect on the term and have a look at the "highs " and the " lows " of this Granny's Gap Year.

Let me begin with the "highs "

* hanging out with the younger generation...what a huge eye opener for me to realise they are nothing like my kids were at the same age...a bit of a culture shock for me  ( and maybe for them too ) but what a great bunch they are..each of them have blessed me in ways that they may never know and given me a hope for the future ...yay for the students .

* having input from such fantastic teachers..all too many to mention but all of them have impacted me  in such a deep way that I am hoping I may never be the same again..altho I have to mention two "legends "...Ben Davies..a personal hero of mine and a new hero to add to my collection ..Ron Bailey who brought what could have been a dry and stuffy life....yay for heroes.

* volunteering to "preach" in front of Ben Davies and hearing his feedback a real highlight of the term for me plus being asked to speak at the next 10/10 in March 2013..yay for preaching .

* listening to the students ask the questions that I always wanted to ask but felt silly asking...yay to get the answers to some long awaited questions...yay for those who are patient and answer all our questions..

* serving each Sunday in Konstruction Krew...both meetings...what an eye opener !!..Junior Church as we used to call it was NEVER like this...Yvonne and the team are just fantastic and at the beginning of term I thought I would be missing out not being able to go into the adult meeting but I haven't missed it at all !!.yay for kids work

* being a part of the staff team even if only for one day a week has been lovely and chatting to different staff members has opened up some new friendships....yay for chats on the stairs and in the loo.

* having hugs from people on a regular basis...may seem silly to include that in the picture..but with my background having people in my "personal space" hasn't always been easy and some of the students excel at know who you are. ..yay for hugs

* being able to share some deep things with the students and to hear their own stories and their struggles has been a real privilege....Gabriele took time last week to pray over me in tongues and I felt the peace of God just surround me .....yay for prayers

* being moved way out of my comfort zone into new technology my new smart phone and using Word to complete assignment and Internet to study . Still not fully comfortable but moving in the right direction. ...yay for a learning curve.

* finding out that we are to be grandparents again with the expected arrival in April of a little pink one how cool will that be...yay for Andrew and Limara

* having such great encouragement from my friends and family .who have been like my cheerleaders.!! yay for friends. and family .

* studying like crazy for the preaching and for first assignment ...borrowing books and picking brains and surfing the Internet...yay for challenges .

I probably could write a whole lot more of the "highs" but wanted to also give a wee bit of space to the "lows " it hasn't all been easy as some of the list below will explain.

* having a fall right at the start of the term resulting in cracked ribs and bruised lung tissue..this is still not resolved and I still have residual pain for which I take quite strong prescription meds for ..this is despite a measure of Gods healing during the term which actually meant I had a completely pain free holiday ...yay for that...sadly I then had several episodes of heart arrhythmia caused by the intercostal muscles being still damaged...which sent me into panic mode and had the para medics come visit in middle of the night this is an ongoing situation.

* my migraines have increased and this along with the meds I am already taking means I am tired all the time .This is not good ..considering I still work full time as well as serve Academy Hours .I also recognise that if I am not careful I could tip into depression as the tiredness is so oppressive at times.

* sadly I also had to say goodbye to a wee boy who I had child minded for 18mths as his mum needed more hours and I just couldn't commit to them ...this also resulted in a fairly substantial financial loss.

* several personal issues have arisen which were horrid and forced us to throw ourselves into Gods mercy and we are grateful for the support from Simon and our Line Managers Colin and Yvonne.

* finally ..a last "low" ..we got our first written assignment back today and I cant even begin to describe how uptight I have been about it...I left school 42 years ago with six "O" levels  (GCSEs) and have had no formal education since then so the written assignments I knew would take me way beyond any comfort zone...I worked my socks off....hours and hours ...ask my husband ??!!..... I did all the right things..asked for help...ploughed my way through Tozer and commentaries and sent drafts to wiser women than me for advice and for the last 6 weeks I have known such deep anxiety...and even before I opened my envelope I was already crying all over Joanne as I shared with her how I was feeling ...we laughingly opened them together (!) but all I could see were
the " numbers."...which were a lot lower than I had thought I would get....and I didnt even read  the feedback..I put it straight back into the envelope and headed to the loo in tears . The assignment is still in the envelope...I cant even bring myself to look at it again...the numbers paralysed me.... reflections on the first term of Academy...believe me that despite the last "low" I have loved every second...every minute..every day...every moment of serving and being with the gang and I am so looking forward to next term and all the challenges it will have.  I may even take the assignment out of the envelope at some point and absorb it a little better but have to wait till my eyes stop leaking .

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Grannys Gap Year (8) on being ill seems as if I have been ill / poorly one way or another since my adventure started in Academy. First it was the faint then the bruised lungs and fractured rib then the wrong dosage of meds and light headedness and then of course cystitis creeping in twice !! Oh and now its gastric flu !!

I have had emails and texts and Face Book comments ( thank you )  with all sorts of encouragement and support and loads of advice which have kept me going. The advice has ranged from praying in the spirit to drinking green tea and in between those two I have been told its probably demonic in origin and also that I need to take care of the temple of the Holy Spirit more . The encouragements have ranged from gorgeous flowers to lovely visits from friends bearing nothing other than a smile and a hug. The support has been never ending from the hubster and Elisha's mummy who have taken time off to help me out. The amazing Matt  who loves me no matter if we are out and about or if I am laid up on sofa and he got his keyboard or radio he just goes with the flow.

I don't mind being ill....if I am honest;Apart from the boring bits and the actual discomfort of being sick and spending ages on the loo and only being able to drink small cups of tomato soup ( my poo is pink now  ) What I absolutely HATE about being ill is both missing out on things and letting people down. This is what really pulls me down over and over again and why I detest being poorly whether it is a tummy upset a migraine or a rib fracture .

So far this last 3 months I have not been able to take part fully in Academy Facility times and in fact have only managed it twice so seeing the others working away when I couldn't has been really hard for me to adjust to. I have missed several Thursdays teaching sessions which is really yuck as its hard to catch up with other peoples notes, I have missed the Advance Children's Conference today which Kerith is hosting so I am once more missing a chance to serve with the Academy team as well as see/hear inspirational speakers and I have also made decision not to go to Konstruction Krew tomorrow as I have been out twice in last 2 days for no more than 2 hours and then had to lay down to recover . Tomato soup really isn't enough fuel to keep you going for more than a couple of hours.

This last "missed" is a particularly distressing decision for me me in that I have been helping a young 9 year old to settle in KK...I have managed to get him to be my "helper" a couple of times but then he throws another wee wobbly and we have to start again and each week I see him and we are building a good relationship. I made a promise to him last Sunday that I would ring him in the week to have a chat and we did have a really good old chin wag on Wednesday evening and we said
."see you Sunday " but having made decision today not to go in I felt I needed to ring him and tell him why rather than leave it for him to wonder why I had broken a promise. This more than anything is what I hate hate hate about being ill .

We did have a wee chat and he sounded okay and I chatted to his mum and have let KK leader know so I am praying this isn't a set back for JB...he is such a gorgeous wee lad and full of beans and life and chatter when he settles he is a pleasure to have around so even though I wont be there tomorrow at 11am I will be praying for him ,

With regards to recovery I have also made a couple of other decisions which I haven't wanted to make but just know I need to be sensible. Based on how last two days have gone. As well as not going to KK for tomorrows meetings I have also cancelled my trip to visit my precious Dorset Friend on Monday. Those of you who know who I am talking about will know just how hard that decision has been. I am also not planning on serving in Academy Tuesday either to give me another 3- 4 days for full recovery as well as trying to get beyond the Tomato soup stage no matter how much I love Mr Heinz it doesn't give me much energy.

As to why I have been ill so much in last three months I have no real bias and don't fully subscribe to "you are stepping out for Jesus and the enemy will be against you " I just know that illness is all part of the fallen world and the simple fact is gastric flu is going round . Loads of people have told me that they know others who have been so much worse than me with same flu symptoms. I kinda like to think that I am just one of the statistics that get poorly all at one time rather than being a specific target for the enemy to aim at. Having stated that I am praying daily for healing and protection and asking God to keep me safe and well at all times from the enemy but I do that fairly frequently anyway whether well or ill ....for me and all my friends and family its a regular discussion I have with the Almighty.

I just need to keep my slightly inward poor old me self looking upwards to God and believing that even in this time of illness I am still living in his purpose and still in the right place . Academy Team I salute you all and miss you all so much when I don't get to hang out with you .

Sunday, 4 November 2012


 I thought I would blog this as soon as I got home from church...altho stopped long enough to have cheese on toast and a cuppa for lunch .....This was my Sunday "off" that as an Academy Student I get the Sunday of my Reading Week off serving but to be honest I love doing what I am doing so agreed with Yvonne I would do my bit then go off to main meeting for the preach....

Remember my motto over the decades has always been..."I got through my entire Christian life without ever serving in childrens work "...I kinda thought it would be a pretty cool epitaph for my gravestone. Yes..I have done my share of creche and baby looking after over the years and even led a team of creche workers and have helped serve at 11-14s when my children were in their really it was the 5-11s that I have avoided..!

As an Academy Student I am linked with Yvonne Scott the childrens pastor and for 4-5 hours every Sunday I serve the children of Kerith Community Church and the team of amazing volunteers who week by week give of themselves and their time and energy to speak Jesus to 70-90 children over two meetings every Sunday morning.

Today was all about Water Baptism....The group had a  Salvation Sunday whilst I was on my holidays when 18 children responded to the gospel ( drat I missed it ) and invited Jesus to be their forever friend so my plan was to hang out for the 9am meeting to see how Baptism would be preached and if there would be a response.??.....then to go over for the 11am meeting.

Can I just break here for a few minutes to tell you about the TEAM.....What a gang we have...I am totally in awe of Yvonne...Nicola....Stacey....and others who teach week by week...they all have their own individual style yet somehow God uses them in the exact way that suits who they are . Then there are the group of parents who volunteer...they are also amazing...they lead small groups and get to talk to and pray with loads of children...their own children may be in the group too and get to see their parents being Jesus to inspiring....and then there are also the "apprentices"...this is a group of the older children...who are perhaps year 5-6 and they are AWESOME...they wear their apprentice jackets with pride and step up each week to help...they may be on reception/ team...drinks and biscuits organiser...small group leaders...just fantastic to see them....what role models we have in this age group...and once a month we have our youth band...REVOLUTION....who come over for the entire morning and lead us in worship....this morning Josh Grimmet taught us a song he had co written with Dave Betts who is the church musical director and wow....what a great song..the kids were bopping all over the place and I was so laughing at three of the (  grown up ) guys who lead small groups who have absolutely no sense of rhythm and I was laughing so much ....sorry guys ...but you made my morning..!!....I am just so privileged to get to be a part of this ministry so much so that I decided NOT to bother going over for the 11am meeting...let me tell you why...

Nicola...who I have only known for a matter of months...she is such a gifted children's worker...she is even more amazing in that she has no children of her own bells next year....she doesn't work with children ...BUT God has anointed and appointed her for such a time as this...when she marries Adam I believe God is going to raise up this couple in ways which we cant yet imagine watch this space....Any way....she preached a storm at both meetings and God moved in....I lost count but I think over the two meetings we had something like 18 children respond to "ask more " about baptism and several also asked to pray the ABC prayer which is our salvation prayer....I was once more moved to tears...these children range in age from 5 to 11 and I hardly know any of them (altho slowly getting to grips with their names ) and I have no idea what their home life or family life is like but what I do know is that GOD knows each one of them by name...He knows every hair on their head...He understands their every thought...every fear...every part of their lives. He is very interested in them and for an hour and half each Sunday morning we get to see God reach down from heaven and touch their tender spirits....I am often heading for the kitchen to find more tissues or to the loo to hide as my mascara drips down or my nose snots....

I could write reams about individual children who I see each week is humbling to watch a 5 year old raise their hands in worship...or to see an 8 year old dancing before God with no embarrassment..or a 9 year old praying for their friend....and just to watch 50 children laughing as they "gunge " one of the leaders raises my laughter quotient for the day. I get the amazing task of awarding Star Certificates each week to individual children and each week I take note of at least 10-12 children who are stars....and when I get the chance I tell them and tell their parents too what a difference they have made to the morning just by being themselves....

People talk about "being ruined " by this it often means that they will never be the same again...I am pretty certain that once this Academy Year is over with I may never be the same entire idea of what Children's Work is like  has been turned upside down ...I have always been of the mindset that to serve in children's work you "miss " the main meeting....well ...after just a few short months I reckon that often the main meeting IS the children's work...

I have just finished writing ..(agonising would be a better word  ) a 2000 word essay on The Attributes of a Holy God and one of his Attributes is "Omnipresent "...and basically this means He is everywhere all times I guess the main meeting really is wherever there are believers or faith filled people or God fearing groups...God is there...The Main Meeting is EVERYWHERE...and whats so cool about that is no-one misses out on God.

If ever you want to see God at work in children ..come visit us Sundays 9am or 11am ...I am actively looking to recruit a team to welcome new settle new children into their groups and generally be there at a time when it can be a little scary to go into childrens groups for the very first time...I can promise you..God is there and you wont miss me...leave me a comment...Facebook me..I would love to introduce you to Konstruction will never be the same again.

Friday, 26 October 2012


Life back to "normal" after our 12 days away in the sun....I didn't make it into the office on Tuesday as we were so delayed getting home it was 3am I think before I feel asleep so spent most of Tuesday zzzzz and sorting out unpacking. But life as we know it resumed on Wednesday...yay...wee boy and me off for a swim together and then Matt and wee boy for afternoon...all well and I was soooo looking forward to Academy day on Thursday after missing two weeks.

It was so fab to see the gang again and be a part of the "buzz"in the room..(note my use of young peoples words .LOL ) but that soon turned to slight anxiety when Ben P announced we were not going to be following the programme but doing somethings different today. YIKES.....I don't do spontaneous and certainly don't do different so anxiety level starts to rise.

Actually the first bit of "different " was great..we got half and hour of silence to "practise the presence of God " and this is my kind of different so was very grateful to have that time just to think and pray and experience God in the silence...Love it.

But then comes the "very different "..Ben announced we were going to have a DEBATE  ...yep lets divide into two teams given a topic and have to debate FOR OR AGAINST  the I am already writing words down on my notebook and they say ..


We settled into our two groups and immediately there are 7 people all talking at once and as we were trying to sort out our thoughts and develop an opening statement I just felt as if the entire world was trying to crawl into my personal space...when I am having to adjust my spectrum of hearing to this kind of setting the actual noise level gets louder...its hard to explain but as each person was trying to be heard and there were several conversations going on at same time as well as the noise from the other group I could feel my heart beat get louder and quicker and then it all goes numb. I quickly realised I would possibly have a complete meltdown if I didn't move out. So...waving my book in my hand I shove it under Ben's nose so he could read it and then made my escape out into garden trying to look cool calm and collected !! Hoping the gang might think I just needed some fresh air !!

Got as far as the steps and the tears just fell out of my know the type ..nothing keeps them back ..gravity pulls and down they go mixing with the snot as I fumbled for my my senses calmed down and I felt less panic stricken I just felt an idiot.. Here I am at 57 years old walking out of the classroom in juvenile is that and worse to come I would have to go back in and face them all...arrggghhhh...where is my car when I need to run away .

I was only out there a matter of 2-3 minutes when the door opened and Ben P and Dan B come out...Rescued by the boys....both young enough to be my sons who just let me be a mess for another couple of minutes ..didn't attempt to fix me..just listened as I tried to explain how I feel at times with my deafness...I immediately felt calmer and more relaxed cos they were obviously understanding me completely.

Strangely it felt absolutely fine going back in after just another couple of minutes....Dan re-assured me I wouldn't have to do anything ..but I could just read the opening statement and the bible verses...he wrote it out for me and let me have a minute or so to get my head round where we were going and what I had to do...then the debate started...I honestly felt complete gave me funny looks..and I felt no embarrassment .!! These students are the best...such treasures ...a generation that God is going to use for great things ..BUT for me ..way more than that I felt they were my friends and in that kind of relationship I could just be myself...didn't have to make excuses or be silly or apologise...just could be me with all my little foibles and hang ups.

I actually enjoyed the debate...but seriously I don't want to go there too often.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012


I just read another blog where a friend honoured her buddy and it got me thinking about Friendships in general so while these thoughts are fresh in my mind I thought to blog a little bit about friendships .

I am almost 58 years old so have seen friends come and go and some stay and some wander off and some come to a natural ending and some are doomed for lots of different reasons.

I have no idea where the following quote comes from but it sounds right.!

Some friends are here for a reason
Some friends are here for a season
Some friends are here for life.

I can look back and see where and how my friends have fitted into this wee saying. I have especially valued those friends who have stood by me for decades and seen me at my best and at my worst and still love me and want to spend time with me....they are the ones who are there for LIFE.

As someone whose entire childhood was spent wandering here there and everywhere I rarely was able to keep friendships going but in recent years with the fabby facebook and internet I have regained some of those precious ones who had given me some stability in the middle of my traumas.

Caroline...who I met almost 53 years ago on our first day at matter we haven't seen each other for 30 years ..( she visited me in hospital when I had Andrew ) we have always kept in touch by Christmas letters and cards but now as both of us are Grannys we so enjoy each others lives even tho we may never see each other. Caroline may never know how much I loved her and her family...they were so kind to me and gave me hope for the future at a time when life was bleak. The wee bakery Carolines mum worked ....kept me in pies when I had no dinner money...(pretty sure she sneaked them to us as I never remember anyone paying )

Janie....who I met in my goodness we had some adventures....didn't we.??.. stuff I wouldn't even tell my kids about but it was the early 70s and life was a gas.!!! we experimented with lots of things including  threepenny single ciggies from the corner shop and cider from the Offy when we could sneak it...( not saying any more )...again FBook has brought us back in touch after decades and its been so great to catch up .

Pat....who we shared our boys together for many years...and had so much pain and hurts as we each worked through lives awful next door for years and being there for each other when life was at its toughest....and to see her on my last visit to Scotland knowing how poorly she was broke my heart but just to see her again was so precious....

Friends in the early years down here in Bracknell....Sue...Edie...women of God who introduced me to Jesus...showed all my family love and care and invited us into their hearts and their homes...Norma ..a very special neighbour who took time to show me the sights (!) of Bracknell and Maggie who kept me sane through the early years....all very precious gifts to me at the time....and even though I may not see them often or at all as Maggie died earlier this year my heart is full of memories and thanks for them.

There have been friends who I have worked alongside in childminding or respite care and friends who have been the parents of these very special children and young people...Fiona...Lynn...Isobel...all incredible women who have walked journeys with me and shared the good and the painful especially Ofsted moments and Paediatric First Aid courses,!!! How much the poorer my family life would be without their children ( and young adults) enriching my life....

Looking back over the last 20 plus years I can see several friends who have been there for me for reasons and seasons...we have shared children...child care...swapped jobs and church roles...held each others hands when needed and lent shoulders to lean on and cry on when needed.

Linking a thread through these years have been two very special women...Iris and Bren ...who I can honestly say I wouldn't be the woman I am today if they had been missing in my life...they have consistently propped me up when I have been falling...have wept with me...have laughed with and at me...have holidayed with me and mine...have shared Christmas times..  Easters and birthdays...have rejoiced with me at weddings and special times and have prayed for me and mine when I have run out of spiritual steam..Realistically as Iris is older than me and Bren has cancer I am unsure how long they will be in my life but one thing I know for sure I plan to let them know as often as I can and in as many ways as I can think of just how precious to me they are...

Within this season there are also others who I can mention ... friends who I know will take me "up in their lift " you know who you are....I may only see you once or twice a year for a coffee or just the odd time at church or a conference... but we link up as if the gap of time isn't important at all.

Finally....there is the friendship I share with my daughter....Catriona Elizabeth Mooney...altho I share her now with the fabby Mr Nick Kent.... somehow or other God gifted me this precious child. I never had any kind of relationship with my own mum having a daughter was doubly special for me..yes we have had our tough times but we have been refined together over the years and learned from each other how we tick and how we can be friends but also a mum and a daughter. I am so grateful to God for the gift of Cat...also for the precious sons he gave me too in Michael and Andrew..and the amazing women in their lives too...Debs and are just the best girlys I could ask for and not missing out Mathilda who I think is just the best grand-daughter I could ask for and  for all of them.... I hope we get to enjoy many years of friendship as we all grow old together.

Finally....Finally....the other two  "men " in my life...Chris and hubby is my best ever friend...none can come close to how much I value him and Elisha.....I can say nothing more about him other than he makes my heart smile all the time....and soon he will be keeping company with the latest little bean in the belly ...exciting times in the lives of all my "friends" !!

Sunday, 7 October 2012


It was that time of year again when our church hosts the Summit and Chris and I always volunteer to be there serving . Each year we do this God impacts our lives in  new...fresh and challenging ways. Several years ago we had the amazing experience of actually going to Chicago and being a part of the live event ...but it is just as new and exciting when seen on the DVD screen.

This year the speakers as usual were a mixture of business and church leaders and I thought I would list some of the "phrases" that I heard that made me stop and think...or impacted me. Being half deaf and relying on lip reading always limits my note soon as I take my eyes off screen to write I miss the next part of the sentence so I really only write down a phrase that is striking or that immediately seems to resonate with my spirit . ( one day we will have total communication.....subtitles/ sign language description etc )....I also thought to write about several things that people have either said to me or that I have said to myself over the last 2-3 particular order of importance just as my notes are written.

* Bill Hybels ..( along with Ben D.. is a hero of mine )...repeats his amazing phrase....The Local Church is the Hope of the World.
* 6 x 6 ....Bill talked about planning and preparation bursts...over a six week period write down six things you want to into action..over and above the normal "to do " lists.
* When is the "vision" most when we make plans ...when do we often want to give up...its usually somewhere in the middle...we have huge bursts of excitement and adrenaline at the beginning of some new venture ...then once its up and running we realise it can be a hard slog....discipline and determination. is so needed to keep us pressing on.
*Condoleeza Rice...spoke so well...I don't understand politics and certainly not American world politics but she spoke from her heart of her time in Washington and the world stage.One quote she made..." every life is capable of greatness "
* William Ury was interviewed by Jim Mellado...about Conflict Negotiation...his quote .."The goal is not just  the elimination of conflict...its to find the place of agreement "
* John Ortberg....he spoke incredibly well...but for me was way too complicated in his thinking...I found it difficult to "get" what he was saying...he used words and phrases that held me hostage in that I really had no idea what they meant so failed to process them will need to think my notes through again.
* Craig Groeschel...( another hero of mine ) spoke on the subject of
  "Bridging the Generation Gap " which was one of the best sessions for me....his phrase..
 "IF YOU ARE NOT DEAD THEN YOU ARE NOT DONE" going to be my life motto for next season. He also said..."If you delegate create followers...if you delegate authority you create leaders "....

I missed a couple of sessions as I was counting the offering with Iris....that was so exciting...I had never done this before and I was staggered at peoples generosity...we take up an offering each year to enable leaders from the international community who are unable to finance their own people to come and be a part of the was also so humbling in that several envelopes had 2x 50p coins...the widows mite...made Iris and I stop and think for a few seconds that some can give hundreds of pounds and others 2x 50p...but it is all going to make a huge difference in the lives of thousands of people the world over...what was also so amazing is that these 2 x 50p offerings were gift cool is that !

* The final session on day two was again Bill Hybels...he talked so passionately as he unpacked again "The Local Church is the Hope of the World "...
* Chris and I wrapped up our day by hanging out at a final debrief session with the overseas visitors ending with fish and chip suppers....eaten from the paper with our fingers...introducing people from Latvia and Poland to wooden forks and greasy fingers..vinegar and ketchup.
* During this last hour a man appeared at the door of the building...he walked in and Chris had a chat with him...he shared a hard story of what was going on in his we were able to give him fish and chips and a wee half hour of listening to him and show care and compassion...Chris gave him 20.00 and maybe just a wee bit of hope that all was not lost as he went on his way.

Other seemingly small " moments " that touched my heart and spirit and lifted me out of tiredness and into the realm of sharing time with some amazing friends as we served alongside each other...

*  Lunch on the window ledge having a chat with Frances R...takes me "up in my lift" every time..
* The singing  of Happy Birthday to Sue R the event manager at 7.30am on day two as we had our team briefing...and blew out her candles...( love embarrasing the boss lady )
* A ten minute chat to Jacqui WG who threw into the conversation very casually that her E-Learning company have now had 55,000 people do the courses she has pioneered...Gobsmacking.!
* Listening to my daughter Cat K singing ..keep having to remind myself how talented and gifted she is....
* Hanging out in the crew room with Academy Students..who worked so much harder than me...they are stars.
* Being asked by a visitor..."who is the "girl" on the stage with your Pastor Simon..." .LOL...
the " girl " is of course the amazing Catrina...his wife.
* Finding one of the overseas summit leaders was also called IRENE..we instantly hit it off and kept hugging each other.
* Chatting to Sasha from Macedonia..he shared a little bit of his life with me as he talked about the miracle of his first child when all hope of pregnancy was gone.
* The Academy Line Up at 5.30 pm we summoned up the last shreds of energy for a bit of fun ...and we cheered loads of people out of the building...especially a certain Mrs Iris Joyce who swanned up and down as if she was on the Hollywood Red Carpet no less.! Altho Valentine and Harry with their breakdance moves and cossack dancing were just as crazy.
* I had asked Lee LM if he had any "commentaries " I could borrow for my assignment..he so kindly said...yep in the office...I head up to collect it..only to find it is one of those HUGE books which probably weighs about 10 kilos..I had planned to take on hols on Thursday but hey I only have a 20 kilo luggage allowance...will maybe just photocopy the relevant passages...

Finally....I was up at the crack of dawn yet again to serve for Konstruction Krew.....reminding myself...If I am not dead I am not done...but oh boy was I tired...but as usual...God showed up for over eighty 5-11 year old children...led by our Youth Band ...REVOLUTION..they were just outstanding and seeing the younger children worship once again moved me to tears...

BUT.....I am now weary....and so looking forward to heading to Lanzarote for 12 days with our buddies ..sun  and pool...and my 10 kilo commentary...


Thursday, 4 October 2012


I am almost speechless...those of you know who know me well ...may wonder if I have Laryngitis.!! I am rarely without  a verbal collection of words and often I think I have verbal diarrhoea and at times it does spill into the written word too...BUT today ...right now....I am trying so hard to find the right words to convey what today has been like....Actually not just today but the whole experience on The Academy so far.

Instead of trying to make sense of it all and write coherently let me just make some statements.

* I have realised that I have allowed my spirit to get stale and old.
* I have realised what a privilege it is to be able to take time out and give a year to serving and getting to know more of God for myself...
* I am amazed at the excitement that is surging its way into my head...heart...soul..mind..emotions.
* I am humbled...big the young men and women who are teaching at The Academy...most of whom I am old enough to be their mum and possibly even old enough to be their Granny.
* I am eternally grateful to Ben D ...his preaching... decades ago resulted in my salvation and his ongoing leadership...and lifestyle examples continue to influence me ...he is my all time Hero.
* I am sensing a similar gratefulness to Michael Ross-Watson....who is a story teller par excellence and his smile lights up my heart.
* I am challenged daily to press on into God....Today's teaching from Ben D was particularly challenging.
* I am having to change the way I see young people....I can be an old fogey ( try explaining that to our Lithuanians and Estonians )..and hanging out with the Academy gang is opening my eyes to this emerging generation.
* I am really beginning to "get " Liam P...this is related to above point....!!
* I used to sort of boast that I would have it written on my gravestone that " I got all the way through my Christian life without serving in children's work" and yet here I am week after week...for 5 hours on Sunday mornings...seeing God break in to children's lives.
* I am increasingly grateful for Chris...who has released me and encouraged me and supports me in this Gap my friends who are my biggest fans and noisiest cheerleaders...and to my daughter Cat who continually encourages me.
* I am so grateful to  the mum of the young man I care for ...being flexible I can do this year....
* I am thankful for Cat and Nick who give me the joy of caring for Elisha as well as do this year....
* I am looking at this year...not just as a filler ...not just as something I could do...not just because I was bored and thought what a good idea...I am looking at this year to be life changing in so many ways and oh boy...its looking good so far. one of the teaching sessions...God broke in and one of the students...Siim...sensed that God wanted us to pray for healing ...again those of you who know me will know I have had cracked ribs and bruised lung tissue for some weeks and been on fairly strong meds and Anti Inflammatory drugs....The whole Academy prayed for me and ...

God healed me..

Later I was able to drive without wincing when I used the hand brake...push the shopping trolley and carry it into the house...pick up Elisha and play on the floor with him...all with no pain....

God is good....What other words are needed .

Sunday, 30 September 2012


This blog post is slightly off centre of Granny's Gap year but still highly relevant. I am just home from the evening meeting at church and my mind is just buzzing with the words..."Inspiring a Generation "

Yvonne Scott our Children's Pastor has kinda nicked the phrase from the Olympics and we are using it at Team time and reminding ourselves that what we do on Sundays mornings with the Inspiring Generations for Christ .

This morning at both the 9am and the 11am meeting after the fun of gunging a leader and games playing we moved into the teaching time and the leader suggested the children pray and ask God to speak to bless forgive them....Altho at both meetings the children responded in a very positive way it was at the 11am meeting  I saw and experienced something I had never seen before .!!

The Leader asked the children to lay down on the floor and close their eyes and "talk " to ask for the Holy Spirit to come to them and bless them ....I sat at the back of the hall and watched as a hush fell....I guess there was probably around 60 children and the floor was covered ...I couldn't see an inch of space and you could have heard a pin drop....The Leader prayed....and within about 2 mins I could sense God was moving....I began to weep....It felt as if a Holy Presence had flowed in and was hovering over the children and I was being included....I just sat there and watched the children.

Some of these children come from broken-ness...some from painful lives...some maybe bullied...some just needing a touch of Gods love....Many come from happy families yet they too were reaching out to and experiencing a Holy Moment.....I truly felt that as a church we ARE Inspiring a Generation for Christ.

Then this evening....I was dog tired....I slept for 2 hours after I got home at 1pm...I was wiped out...then we had our grandson and his parents over and our son ...( missed you Limara ) for fabby Sunday Roast at 6pm  but I really wanted to get to church as I knew we had a visiting speaker and it was Baptisms... So off I went...arriving late but just in time to join in a new song which just lifted me back into Gods presence.

We baptised 6..(or was it 7) young teenagers who all shared their stories of how God had called them into a relationship with Him through Jesus....I knew then that our church were Inspiring this Generation too.!!

Finally....I was reminded on the way home that our youth Pastor...Liam...spoke weeks ago about being a church where the old...the middle aged...the youth and the kids would all love and care for each other in every way we could ...He prayed that there would be NO Generation Gap....and we would Inspire all ages...

Today....I believe I lived it ...breathed it...experienced it...and for me I was truly Inspired for Christ in a new and precious way.

Saturday, 29 September 2012


I can hardly believe it is now a month since I started The Academy ...and its been a month of ups and downs...highs and lows ..but also of great fun...huge challenges and I seem to have completely lost sight of my "comfort zone"...

Physically... its been unbelievably cracked ribs and bruised lung tissue has meant I have been struggling to move and drive and that had a knock on effect with my work life and meant I couldn't have the childminded boy....and Chris had to step in to help as much as possible with Elisha. It also was a weird two weeks as the dosage of Tramadol was wrong and I had several episodes of almost fainting and weird dreams and night terrors....not to be fearful.

Financially ....because I wasn't able to care for the childminded child I lost a months earnings and sadly the mummy decided also to terminate my contract. I was in two minds about this...Ofsted have steadily increased the paperwork to the stage where childminders were being buried in totally jobsworth record -keeping and also because the mummy was looking to increase my days and I knew I couldn't commit to more than I was already doing. It also raised the question that she hadn't given me a months notice as per contract and NCMA have all sorts of advice etc re this kind of legality....personally I wasn't really interested in what the legal situation ...after praying and talking to others I knew that God was saying to "do what was right" If this meant I lost some money then that was okay...the "right" thing was to keep in good relationship with the mummy and to finish well. Over a couple of emails both the mummy and I agreed on a mutual severance and we have both been able to leave the door open for future times and maybe the child coming for visit to say hello again to Eli and Matt both of whom he has a good relationship with. I was able to say to the mummy that caring for her son for 18 months was such a blessing and may God bless them in their future.

Comfort Zone is disappearing fast...Mixing with a gang of young folk...Ha...its been a riot....yes I feel like the mummy of the group...(that's my has said this )...yes I watch them doing some very weird and silly just need to check out their FBook vids and pics...but they bring a smile to my heart and a lift to my spirit....I just have to look at Dan B...and Ben W and get a huggle of RV....or watch Siim and Marlen have a wee cuddle when they think no-one is looking...or watch the way the girls look out for each other if the tears start to drip.....and loads more....

Comfort Zone...has also been moved..I now am the proud and slightly smug owner of a Galaxy S2...and I can do some pretty fab stuff on it....don't get too excited...I am way behind most of you..but being able to take a photo and post it via email or onto Fbook is such a thrill....I have a Bible Gateway App..but no idea how to use it as yet...I am taking baby steps...don't rush me...but I have to tell you ..

I am so proud of myself..!!

Finally.....I get to hang out with Yvonne Scott the Childrens Pastor...I have never really wanted to be involved with childrens work at church...I always have the thought that I work with children and young adults all week so Sundays I wouldnt get involved BUT I am amazed at how much I am seeing God do in our 5-11s age group...Yvonne and the team are STARS.....and I just know this year that Yvonne will challenge me in so many different ways.

And Finally ...Finally....The teaching we are privileged to get on Academy days is outstanding...truly outstanding...from speakers who have decades of knowledge right through to young men and women who are young enough to be my children but their experiences and gifting shine through....

Thursday, 20 September 2012

GRANNY'S GAP YEAR (3) it is ..coming to the end of my 3rd week in Academy....I am just amazed !!..I never knew it would be like this....I guess a lot of people have a fixed idea of what any new thing may be like...BUT.....this is like nothing I have experienced before. I truly believe it is because I have stepped out of my "comfort zone".

For many years.....I have allowed my lack of self confidence and my hearing loss to keep me inside a fairly well controlled environment....I have worked from home for decades...with babies...young children and adults with disability and for me it is an easy role to have...

1) I am in my own home
2) I choose who I care for and what I do with them
3) Often the need to "listen" isn't always needed and my hearing loss isn't noticed
4) I have huge confidence in my many years of experience...often in areas that others would be I can tube feed...babies and young children..I can deal with Epilepsy and do CPR....I can use BSL or Makaton if needed....I can provide personal care for adults without any problems and of course I can feed babies and change poo bums with one hand behind my back.
5) I have almost total control over almost every aspect of my day to day life.
6)If I don't want to do something...or learn a new skill then I don't have to...I can choose NOT to learn or try or attempt ....

This is my Comfort Zone...

For decades I have lived within this zone and in all honesty I have pretty much created it to suit me family and my church life. In the last 2 years I have sensed that time is passing....This may well have been because I have went to several funerals of people of similar age and for one reason or another have died suddenly or after an illness....Add to that the birth of my Grandson Elisha and I am so aware that life is moving much faster in my 50s than it ever did in my 30s.

The Comfort Zone was beginning to be more of a restriction than a freedom to me....I cant explain it too well but my friends would have heard me say the phrase "same old ..same old "..which really just sums up that I have been doing the same thing for such a long time and it was no longer comfortable... just SAME !!

I knew just applying for The Academy was the first moving out of my comfort zone. In the last three weeks ..let me list some of the areas and steps that have taken me way out of my zone. You may think..what is she on about...that some of the list may sound "simples"as the Meerkat says...but I am not  the it will never be "simples"

1) Being part of a fairly large group of people who don't know me...don't know who I am or where I come from..or any of my background...
2) Being part of a group who don't know about my hearing loss..or that I rely on lip reading a lot of the time
3) Being part of a group ..6 of whom are from other countries and cultures....bringing the added stress of my hearing tuning into their accents and reading the lips of other language speakers is extremely difficult.
4) Being part of a group of people who are decades younger than me....average age I guess would be 19 or 20??
5)Being part of a group who are technologically way beyond my ability...watching all of them on their Ipads and Iphones and Smart phones...and even using words like USB and Wi-Fi...send waves of anxiety through me and in my comfort zone I don't have to worry about such things....I resisted using my ancient
(but beloved )NOKIA to text until maybe 2 years ago.
6)Having to engage my brain...leaving school at 16 and having no other formal education ...I am now having to take notes (very hard when you rely on lip you go to write the point down you miss the next sentence )
7)Altho I have been a Christian for decades I am learning stuff I didn't even know about...lets face it Messianic Prophecy isn't a lot of use when engaging a 2 year old with Play Dough and whether Jesus was The Lion Of Judah or The Lamb of God isn't of any relevance when running after a 3year old in the park.
8) Being asked direct today I was asked "Why do I love Jesus?"its a sort of intangible  question that my young man who I care for has never really asked me before !!!
9) Today we were also given instructions re our assignments...Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....and we were also told that there were choices...we could submit them written...or we could choose to "speak" some of the assignments....we could hand write them but preference is for them to be handing in on that USB thingy (!) and then we were challenged to volunteer to be a part of Ben Davies preaching sessions....Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha....Ha Ha Ha.....would anyone like to volunteer.....Brave girl..Gabrielle sitting next to me shot her hand up ...and a second later a voice said..."yep me too"....oh my goodness it was voice...YIKES...Come Back Comfort Zone...all is forgiven..
10) I need to work and earn and couldn't give the time...but the word flexibility is built into Academy and God has somehow engineered it for me to sort of "stretch" time so I get to be where I need to be when I need to be!!

I probably could list more but wanted to give just a flavour of the what Academy is like for me....None of the above list is insurmountable....From the safe and restricting comfort zone of years where I lived in safety I told myself I couldn't do Academy because of 1,2,3,4....etc etc...and here I am 3 weeks on and feeling as if a whole new world has opened up to me....words cant describe I am already changed....

The young students are refreshing and gorgeous....and full of questions and fun to be around and have amazing stories of where and how God encountered them...they are full of zeal and excitement and its contagious...I feel like I am going back to my First Love...Jesus...
The note taking isn't as hard as I thought and the teachers are so willing to repeat if I need it....there are handouts so I can sit back and relax at times.
The students from other countries speak excellent English and altho I am sure I will misunderstand them at times or mis-hear doesn't matter.
I am going to get myself a Smart phone...( I can hear the chuckles and cackles of all my friends and family )
My brain is slowly coming alive again...(hallelujah)
I am determined to serve as best as I can within the time I have available without moaning...and fully expect to be challenged in of my big weakness is to moan when I am moved out of my comfort zone
I am determined to volunteer for as much as I can to grow as much as I can...guess that's why I said yes to the preaching class....
I desperately want the words..."Same Old Same Old"  to be erased from my vocabulary.

So....Granny's Gap year is proving to be heaps and heaps more than what I could ever ask or imagine.!!

Friday, 7 September 2012


Well....its the end of my first week as an official member of The Kerith Academy and what a week it has been.!! I started last Sunday serving at both morning meetings with Konstruction Krew (5-11s) over in K2...arriving at 8.15 am and because we had a Team Lunch I got home around 3pm.

Talk about being thrown in at the deep was the end of the summer programme and to my eyes it was organised chaos...I had absolutely no idea how to play Bible Cricket so just made up the rules as I went along...had fun but not sure if we actually played it correctly. The noise in K2 with children playing games all around me was actually quite scary ...definitely not used to 50 plus children in such a small space playing games I didn't know but hey... "comfort zone" gone in Jesus name !!!

The team lunch was great...just hanging out and eating together ....building community with folks I knew perhaps by sight but not really looking forward to getting to know them better as the year progresses.

Monday evening was spent sorting out my "stuff" it kinda felt like a school child's checklist.

Pens tick
Bag  tick
Packed lunch  tick

etc etc and of course the obligatory early night....

All being well as I slept like a babe but woke at 3.30 am for a drink....and as I bent to get the orange from the fridge I felt really light headed...the next thing I knew I was flat out on the floor between the kitchen and hall...hitting my chin..fingers and left hand side of my chest...obviously low blood sugar and a faint.!!  
I crawled on hands and knees into living room and lay on sofa till I felt able to get back to bed. I was in agony and didn't sleep well at all despite taking painkillers .....BUT..I was determined to make it to Academy the next day ...NOTHING was going to stop me.....

Tuesday was the first day in the office....this was a full on information day as I was introduced to the others in the Team....there are 15 of us of whom 6 are  from either Lithuania or Estonia...(apologies as no idea who is from where at the the moment ) and Heidi from Devon and the rest home grown Berkshire . We had a tour of the church buildings...thought might have been a bit of a bore as I had been around when the jolly church was built but in actual fact it was great to see the changes made over the years as we have grown in numbers and developed so many different ministries. We were also introduced to the staff members and which ministry they were part of...mind boggling numbers of different people and areas....loved The West Wing..!! But mainly we filled in forms and took in dates and times and job descriptions and mercifully escaped early at 3pm....I couldn't wait to get home to lay flat and take more painkillers.

I say mercifully .... as I also was hosting a Kore Team Meeting at my home for the Konstruction Krew gang to come and talk about the term ahead so a quick whizz around with vacuum and sort out of our dinner and set chairs out and wham...back into meeting mode with people I knew by sight but not well...I can see a theme developing here. Painkillers and sleep were becoming my friends. I knew early in the morning when I woke that there was something more than just a knock going on so I headed to Frimley Hospital....only one other person got seen really quick....had x ray and it seems I have two very small fractures at the tip of my left top rib and boy do I know it.....coughing....bending....walking...driving....all incredibly painful but got some major drugs on board so will get through it...4-6 weeks they said before fully healed but I know that God can heal a lot quicker than that. I rested most of Wednesday and was determined to get to Academy for the Teaching Class on Thursday.

So glad I made it.....had an amazing time....hanging out with 14 other people who will become my friends and family over the next year ( I think I am old enough to be every ones mother if not Granny )...on a gorgeous sunny day a great venue...and getting to listen to some quality speakers all rolled into a 6 hour slot more than made up for the fact I was popping pills and moving very slowly. The prayers for healing that they prayed hasn't made a great deal of difference YET  but I am believing that God can heal quicker than 4-6 weeks so watch this space .

So ....Granny's Gap year has well and truly begun...I am excited...overwhelmed...(cried all over several people )..and ready to be changed ...challenged...prodded....and definitely moved way out of my comfort zone.

Tuesday, 28 August 2012


I thought I would post a blog entry that would lift my spirits....its been a tough few days in our family but hopefully I will cheer myself up just writing this blog.!!

If you have ever been in London and travel on the used to be that when the train stopped in the station the electronic voice would say...MIND THE GAP . This was to warn people that there was "space " in between the platform and the doorway of the train. At some stations this GAP was quite wide and meant you had to really look where you were going and step other stations it seemed as if the GAP was so tiny that you wondered why the voice said it at all. This seemed to me the only time the word GAP was ever used...I don't remember ever using the word in any sentences at all.

Then at some point in history the word GAP took on a new meaning....and the most popular way of using it was to explain the time that a student would take between leaving school and going to university. Some GAPS were a whole year and meant work and travel...and stepping big.....other GAPS seemed to only last a few weeks or months but it was way of broadening life and giving the student a taste of independence and for some a dipping into a new culture and new relationships....for most GAP year students I guess they would say that it helped prepare them for the next stage in their journey.

When I left school....( all those decades ago ) there was no chance of me going to university and certainly no GAP hadn't been invented in those dark ages....I also had my children fairly young but spaced out over the years so it never entered my head to regret not having the opportunity to have a GAP year....women of my generation didn't do stuff like that. I am I am fairly free of I am actually approaching OAP status....I have decided  I am going to have  GAP!!

It is not going to be the wee small GAP as explained above ...its not going be a wee tiptoe over from one place to another on my life journey....nope...I am going to have one huge big leap into the fact from where I am standing ...poised to jump..I cant even see the other side of the GAP...its a huge unknown and scary leap......

I am so amazed that the people in my life are enabling me to do this...the mum of  the fabby big lad I hang out with has given me the go ahead....the wee boy who is my gorgeous grandson fits around the GAP and his grandad Chris... is releasing me in so many ways to have my GAP year and not one of them is saying ...MIND THE GAP.....they are all saying...GO FOR IT...

So....what is Grannys Gap Year....well....the church I belong to has a year long course called  THE ACADEMY.....and it basically means you give a year to serve in one of the church ministries....I have to work it round my work and family commitments which as I have said everyone is supporting me in....I will have the immense privilege of working alongside some amazing men and women of God...serving the Sunday ministry that is Konstruction Krew.. (childrens church for 5 to 11 year old )..I will be mentored by another amazing woman of God..I will have a classroom teaching session each week from the leaders of churches that will expand my knowledge of God and the bible and I will share my GAP year with a dozen or so other students...both from this country and abroad...... I guess I will be the oldest one on the team and probably old enough to be their grey haired Granny....and I wonder what folk may think about it but I just know this is the time for me to be doing this and if I hadnt taken the courage and applied I know I would have regretted it. It will be an opportunity for me to be ME,,,not a Mum or a will a time for new learning skills (those who know me well  know that technology is a very big GAP ) and a broadening of my life. I am so forward to this coming season in my life.

So....Grannys Gap Year....and I am going to step out of my comfort zone...and jump....its gonna be fun.

Saturday, 25 August 2012


A few years ago our lead Pastor at the time..the fabby Ben D...often would seem to latch on to one worship song and have the band play it over and over again....( who else has lost count of how many times we sang..To The River !)

One song that I have been humming away to myself over the last few days  has been Oh Faithful God...Its quite an oldie and a really easy one to sing but the words are very strong and powerful. Ben D would have us sing it over and over and encourage us let the words and music grip our spirits and minister strength and faith for those who perhaps needed to know Gods faithfulness.

In this last few days I have known amazing highs and spirit dipping lows and some creaking and cranking in betweens..!!...Hang on tight whilst I explain

I had a whirlwind 4 day trip to Edinburgh with Cat and Elisha and we visited and hung out with my family...precious times that are only really possible once a year as Canada is so far away and getting everyone in one place is so hard....not to mention jolly expensive. With the arrival earlier this year of my grand niece and nephew its was even more precious to hang out with them and my brother and sister. After two full on days with them Cat and I took Elisha off to meet his other cousins on Chris side of the family...This is the first time all 4 Great Grandchildren have been together so again...very precious times....but full on busy ness....

We then got to see two of my oldest friends....known them both for almost 40 years....and spending time with them was equally special. Sadly one of those friends is in the grip of a staggering depression which is so debilitating she can barely function. I spent most of the time with her holding her while she cried as we talked and prayed.

As we arrived back at Heathrow with The Wee Boy so impatient to see his Daddy and Grandad again he was shouting it at top of his voice....I received a text from The Dorset Buddy to say her Chemo had won the battle and that sent me to the Heathrow loos so I could bawl my eyes out..( I was actually sick as I felt so relieved ).

In this last few days I have also heard that the middle son is moving out...(hurrah ) and he and his gorgeous girly will be setting up home together (hurrah)...then I heard some other news that had me crying with both great joy and a touch of despair  as I thought through how it would affect the family.....and later on Friday I heard that I may lose one of my childminding children and I realised  that with losing the middle sons rent and childminded fee could mean a shortage of 600.00 per month in our already tight budget....(can you see me swinging around )..In between all this our eldest son and partner and their daughter arrived back all bronzed and tanned from their Turkey holiday so we had the morning listening to their amazing tales and enjoying their company...Then last night I heard some other news which sent me to my knees in prayer and kept me up half the night.....I also heard from another of my oldest friends that one of her grandsons was in hospital having surgery ...he is only a matter of weeks old...and this too has had me cry out to God for healing.

Can you just imagine the "highs and lows "....It has been a very long time since I have had so many packed into so short a time and boy have I needed some faith to hang on to.

Today ...Chris and I spent some "us time" having a lovely walk in Marlow and having lunch together..altho this was interspersed with my sending and receiving 31 texts (!) as we tried to sort out the family crisis. are some of the words to the song that has been my support over last few days...


I know that there are some folk who are reading this that have lives that seem pain filled and stressed in similar ways and my heart aches for you all...but all I can say...( or sing ) FAITHFUL GOD .

Friday, 20 July 2012

The REAL Me part two

Picking up on my last blog post....I thought I would share answers to the questions that were on the Peter Scazzero Sheets we were given at REAL...maybe you can use them and think about what you would answer.

Question one.....What nurtures your spirit and fills you with delight??

My answer to that has always been pretty much the husband nurtures my spirit..spending time dawdling around on Saturdays with Chris....wandering around the shops ...watching DVDs....going to the beach my time with Chris,,,,add on to that the time we spend as a family...its rare...maybe only 3 times a year when we are all in the same place at same time but we usually manage various combinations fairly regularly and this always nurtures my spirit....we just eat together...walk telly together...walk the pooches together..just generally hang out...I always feel at peace when we get to spend time together....this nurtures my spirit....Workwise....I get to hang out with a great young man in the guise of work and he nurtures my spirit as we laugh at things together and go here there and everywhere ...he never gets in a bad mood or grumpy he is genuinely a great young man. and then grand children....I don't see too much of Mathilda but she is just the best 12 year old ever and I love her honesty and sense of fun as well as the fact she is just an all round great young woman....and of course Elisha....God sent this wee boy into our lives purely to bring us joy and definitely to nurture my spirit.

Question Two.....What do you need to avoid?? What pulls you away from anchoring in Christ??

This was the question that started the tears flowing as I thought through the many ways and many times I can be pulled away from Jesus.....the laziness....the gossip....the pity parties....the lack of self care....the endless need for affirmation from others....friendships that aren't Godly....Relationships that I need to get sorted...unforgiveness....Oh I could go on and on....but as I listed some things on the day I also felt as if I had pulled a plug and was letting it all drain away with the tears....As I cried and just let Christ touch me afresh I could just feel his peace and grace flowing into my spirit....its times like these I am grateful for GRACE......and MERCY....and his all knowing FORGIVENESS.....

Question Three....What are your personal "have to " list in this season of your life that will impact your rhythm??

This was harder to answer and I am still thinking this one through....the most important thing I have put into action is mainly relationally....I am working through  areas where I know that God wants me to put right  There are several friendships that have veered off course and I know I have to get myself back into good relationships with people who will build me up ..."take me up in their lift " and that I also need to ensure that I am personally "clean" and not saying or doing anything that would ensnare others....
The other main area that will hopefully impact my Rhythm of Life is getting a routine established for regular prayer and regular bible time...because I tend to work at home it can be all too easy to slip into bad habits and laziness....all wrapped up in the excuse of looking after children and working with my young man...BUT I know deep down this is an excuse...I can and want to develop a good daily habit of time with God...ask me about that in a few weeks time as I aim to get a new Rhythm going....

I wonder....did anyone else get time to answer these questions...I would love to know how you answered and if it had a similar impact with you as it did with me.

Tuesday, 17 July 2012


It seems as tho the REAL conference was sooooo long ago and I haven't had a chance to blog it but this week I have found myself reading my notes again and thinking back to what God was saying through the amazing speakers. I take weeks to assimilate my notes and even when I do it often just ends up being "one thing"....I loved hearing Shauna speak...I loved her books and in the flesh she was amazingly REAL....Catrina ,.as always was very REAL and having Simon speaking as well was bordering on more than REAL !!!....

I was stewarding and serving sometimes can take the edge of being fully into the conference as people may need help or advice or info and it is difficult to engage all the time but I was gripped by the afternoon session which gave us some time to reflect and write out some thoughts....This I had seen when Peter Scazzaro spoke earlier on in the year and really hadn't given it much time or thought,,,,Peter wrote the book "Emotionally Healthy Spirituality " which I have been reading and doing the workbook so maybe I was a bit more prepared this time round and open to what God was saying.

The sheet of paper we were given to write on had separate sections headlined....


We were encouraged to have an inner dialogue with God about each of these areas and to write down any of the things that were out of we work work work and not give time to were our relationships ...our marriage.... what kind of prayer life do we have...or not have get the drift....

I spent a fair bit of time writing and thinking and was amazed at how out of balance I felt I have been...sometimes you just have to take some time out and reflect honestly with yourself don't you??

The other side of the page was an encouragement to create a "RULE OF LIFE"...Peter Scazzaro says the

 A Rule of Life is like a Trellis that helps us to abide in Christ and become more fruitful spiritually. Its our unique combination of Spiritual Practices that help us to keep God at the centre of who we are and what we do .

1) What nurtures your spirit and fills you with delight?
2)What do you need to avoid/??what pulls you away from anchoring in Christ?
3)What are your personal "have to do" in this season that will impact your rhythm?

If I am perfectly honest I will say that I spent the next few minutes crying...from somewhere deep inside the tears just flowed...I felt really silly because I wasn't sad...I wasn't doing anything wrong in my life I just felt as if I had stumbled into something that God had been trying to get my attention to for a long time and being at REAL meant He could finally get me to pay attention. As I was serving I didn't feel I could fall apart so I had a quick walk to the loo....its amazing how many women end up in the loo at times like this...I passed several on the way in and several on the way out...none of us meeting the others eyes !!!! Just a sort of cameradie that said..".I understand and will leave you alone "

Since REAL....I have spent some more time reading Peters book and looking over my Rule of Life and trying to put some of it  into action....I will hopefully blog more about how I am doing in the next few days.

I wonder how others are doing? ....were you impacted by Peters work sheet?....have you created a Rule of Life?.....I am always amazed that so many people can sit listening to the same speaker yet get so many different things from the same message....God knows each of us intimately and knows exactly what we need to hear for our season in life...Our God is truly "ours" in every sense of the word.

Monday, 2 July 2012


For several years now I have been know how Simon Benham our lead Elder encourages us all to think believe we can do things....and at many other times we have had preaching along similar go back to God and ask Him for pray into dreams we may have already had....or to renew and review dreams we have laid aside or forgotten about.

I know several other friends who have been dreaming too...for longer that I have and yet still haven't seen the timing being right and just watching them dig deep into God and looking at all times to see how...or when...the dreams can begin to be a reality....has been such an encouragement to me.

Yesterday the preacher...Sola... didn't talk specifically  about dreams as such but he did encourage us to go back to God and to believe that God would and could answer our prayers...Whilst I prayed for someone in my family ....I also felt God nudge me gently again re this dream.... I have only ever spoken about it to the gorgeous man I have the amazing joy of being married to and shared with my best buddy in Bracknell...both of them have always been my greatest encourager's and both have said ...yeah go for it....

Its always a little scary when you actually get the dream out of your head and into words...somehow or other they become substance and take form and have life....and its even more difficult to retract them too. I have been following Ruth Buxton over the last 2 years as she has shared her dream of Noahs Coffee  House..her blog link is on my blog list so feel free to read her journey so far... I have loved her strength..her courage..her determination...her faith...her unshakable belief that God has given her this dream.. this destiny..... I am old enough to be her mother yet I feel so young and naive in my faith in comparison to hers.

My dream is nothing like hers...or indeed like any ones really....I think God gives us all different paths and journeys and dreams according to who we are and how our characters and personalities mature over our lives but it is up to us as to whether we take action or just carry on dreaming.

Let me share my dream....and I really ...really...really....would love your feedback...either email or message rather than comment on Fbook....please also feel free to "share" on your own news feed on Fbook....the more replies I get the better ...I have no idea re timing...or much of anything really I just want to get it out into the open and get some reaction to gauge whether this is the time for me to do something... do research.....or just to hold on for a little while longer.

I absolutely adore all time favourite activity is re-arranging my home....faced with an airing cupboard which if you open the door everything falls out...I can spend a happy afternoon sorting it out and colour coding and folding....My kitchen cupboards are completely in line with the actual needs of the cupboard above the dishwasher is where all the crockery lives so you don't have to move when emptying the dishwasher....the cupboard above the kettle is where you will find the mugs...the tea..the coffee and the sugar...the cutlery drawer is on the right and the fridge is on the don't even have to move your feet...only the upper body.!!....My utility room is similar and also doubles as a changing area for babies...and again...the changing matt is directly under the cupboards where you will find the nappies and the cream etc...are you getting the idea.??

Our bedroom is small and compact with no wasted space at all...I can stand in front of the drawers and everything I need is right face cleanser...cotton wool....mirror....hairbrush hair-dryer....again I don't need to move my feet at all......The downstairs loo ...I can stand in front of the mirror and my make-up  is within reach....The child-minding paperwork is all filed in my filing cabinet...The child-minding toys are all in baskets and both myself and the children I care for all know what is in each basket without looking... I regularly go through the garden sheds...the loft..the garage and recycle or throw away or give away anything that isn't used or not lovely hubby takes it all to various recycling places or to other peoples homes...He is so used to me doing this and when the list appears for a Saturday we just get on and do it....recently we put a proper ladder for loft access and my greatest joy was actually getting up there for first time in 7 years...oooooh what fun I had and I know exactly what is up there now and exactly where it is

NOW...before you bombard me with some horrible label such as OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder ) I don't have that....honest...despite several of my friends joking about it constantly.....I have no desire to repeat actions over and over again...and I am not anywhere on the AS (autistic spectrum )...I just enjoy things having a place to stay...this stems from my childhood I know as with all the moving around we did I never knew where anything that belonged to me I kinda guess living this way is my security blanket but seriously its actually something I enjoy.

I have a gorgeous daughter who sometimes lets me loose in her home and we have a couple of days when we restore order and I Love Love Love that.....I have a couple of friends who fearfully have invited me to help them sort out a room or look over the house and make suggestions etc....we even had one very trusting couple who left us their key and went to Australia whilst we de-cluttered and painted their living room...oh what fun I had...

So....For some time I have been thinking of offering this as a a business that would bring me income....I already work full time so it would have to start small and only be available around certain hours etc...but the BIG question is...would for some one to come into your home...or one room and work with you to de-clutter and / or make your storage work better...or your "junk" recycled...or your space utilised in a better way.....and don't forget the church is about to open K4...our charity shop in town so your clutter could fund the amazing community work our church does.

I am honestly interested in everyone's views and opinions...for and against....and any advice or information you think would be helpful....

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


You know those days when you have just a smidgen of free time....not enough time to go anywhere or do anything big....and you are up to date with most of the important stuff in the a clean loo and not too many crumbs on the carpet and the bin isn't too overflowing.....those wee smidgens when you can just sit and let your mind wander??

Strangely I have had several days when I have had moments of mind wandering....I quite like this...especially if I don't fall asleep but manage to just let the thoughts go into free fall and go with them.

Some of these times I have felt like the "thought " has been like a bungee jump and whirled me down and down and down into a frightening thunderous dark place where I can only glance quickly and then be jettisoned back into reality with a grateful sigh....that I haven't had to stay there too long and examine the thought. the last few weeks I had some time out....Holidays...Conferences and some days at Fourteen ( our church organises amazing Retreat Days ) and rather than hurtle down into the abyss I have been intentional and made myself look at the dark places in some detail knowing I was in safe places and that God would be with me.

Pete Scazzero says in his book....Emotionally Healthy Spirituality..." The sad reality is most of us will not go forward until the pain of staying where we are becomes unbearable " This spoke to me in so many ways....

At the grand old age of 57 (yeah I know..none of you even suspected I was 50 did you ??)...I recognise that many seasons of my life have been slowed down and influenced by the pain of my childhood and now as there are most definitely less days ahead than there are behind me I am more and more ready to "move forward ".

At a recent Cherish conference one of the speakers used the scripture from one of Paul's letters..

Philippians ch 3 verses 12-14....Not that I have already obtained all this ,or have already been made perfect,but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it .But ONE THING I DO ; forgetting what is behind and straining towards what is ahead,  I press on towards the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenwards in Christ Jesus.

The speaker reminded us that Paul wrote this letter whilst he was actually in prison...he was still "pressing on" in his spirit towards the greater prize. The challenge was to reflect on how much of our past or present circumstances where we were allowing to prevent us from pressing on. We were also invited to ask God to imprint THE ONE THING deep into our hearts...mind...spirit and soul.....THE ONE keep pressing on....not to let anyone or anything stop us from pressing on towards the goal....

In the last few days as I have had these wee smidgens of time...reading and reflecting and looking back at my journals and chatting with friends I have realised afresh that I have forgotten THE ONE THING and today I have made the decision to "forget what is behind " and to "press on "..I have made some pretty radical decisions...more of which will be shared about in future blogs so watch this space !!

I am scared...excited...apprehensive...determined....all wrapped into THE ONE THING........

Thursday, 3 May 2012


The one which small children ask from a very early age.... Why is the sky blue?? Why are you a girl?? Why do I have to go to bed?? Why do I need to eat my greens?? Why does that man have a big fat tummy?? You know what I mean??...its the main word that after a few of them asked in the most annoying voice repeated over and over can result in the parent saying..." I dont know why"...or just that one word "Because..!!" This word...WHY...stays in everyones vocabulary all throughout their lives...I guess there are lots of people who are asking the word WHY about something in their lives right now and is maybe not getting any other answer other than the ones mentioned above..." I dont know "...or " Because " Some of those questions that are weaving their way through my life right now are tough ones that I may never know the answer to...some of them I know I will get some sort of answer any day now....and its the reconciling of this that can be so hard. Many years ago when I was a very new Christian I used to say to my friend.."when I get to heaven I will have a few questions to ask of God " My wise friend used to say to me "when you get to Heaven you will be so overwhelmed by Gods holiness the questions will fade un-noticed "... So are some of my questions ...I cant wait till I get to Heaven so I am going to seek the only one who can either give me the answers or at the very least give me some sort of peace and reconciliation that will enable my broken heart to heal and help me to breathe again without it hurting. Why is my child going through this ongoing heartache?? Why is my Dorset buddy going through cancer?? Why am I unable to fix things?? Why does it seem so unfair?? Why did I lose two of my brothers to suicide?? Why did both my parents die without me being reconciled to them?? Why do I continue to struggle with thoughts that no-one would want to know about?? I believe 100% that My Saviour and God is big enough to take these questions and to bring me close and to shelter me under The Shadow of his Wings until the storm of pain has passed and the quiet of peace floods in...I am looking and seeking earnestly for that day and know it will be here soon...but for today and maybe tomorrow and maybe even the day after the uppermost thought in my mind is WHY.....

Monday, 16 January 2012


Do you ever have days when you just go...Bleurgh..!!! This day was one of those...I woke early as up..showered and breakfasted and then it all just caved in.

I spent half hour texting and making arrangements and then just thought ..Bleurgh...I then spent 10 mins cancelling the arrangements and spent the morning just going...Bleurgh...

The afternoon brightened slightly as I went out and was amongst other people but very soon ..I was telling them I was having one of those ..Bleurgh days..!!

It didnt get much better but at least I was with friends who I could be ..Bleurgh with.

Days like this confuse me...when there is no reason for the Bleurgh I then reflect on it and try and seek out the why ..or the how...and as of now I still have no real reason for Bleurgh.

I am going to have an early night with my book and see if a rest and a good nights sleep will chase away the Bleurgh.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

One Year On......

On 4th January 2011 I made a life changing decision....I made the decision to have a Gastric Bypass and began the process of research and costing. The NHS would not help me as I was actually quite "healthy" and had none of the Co-morbidity's such as diabetes or high blood pressure so the only route open to me was to go privately. We had been debt free for over a year and God has been so good to us in the whole realm of finances so we were in the situation where we had funds available to us and both Chris and I felt that the huge cost would be an investment that could make a huge difference to my quality of life and certainly would increase my life expectancy.

I weighed myself on 4th January 2011 and the scales touched 20 stone 9lbs and I was wearing clothes that were size 24/ BMI was 52 and I was in the "super morbidly obese category " this was the heaviest I have ever been and I was so depressed....I think I cried for days ! I contacted via the Internet a surgeon and was quickly given an appointment later in January and began the process of appointments that resulted in my surgery being booked for a few weeks later.

For someone like me this in itself was a huge undertaking...I have a real phobia with needles and any kind of medical procedure..I need to lie down when blood samples are required and for things like smear tests I need to take diazepam.!!! I really really really don't do hospitals. The surgeon and staff were excellent and altho I wept a lot at the various appointments I finally went to theatre early on the morning of the 26th Feb. . The stay in hospital was 4 days and a lovely mix of morphine and sleep as well as constant walking up and down the corridor ...dragging my drips / catheter and various attachments with me..

Gastric Bypass surgery is not for the faint hearted and altho it is a keyhole surgery it is still major stomach is cut so I have only a small pouch..think goose egg size ...and the rest is stapled off and left in situ....this small pouch is then re-connected to the small intestine..bypassing a few feet of this so that not only can I only eat very small portions but the absorption rate is also slowed down due to minimal intestinal area. It is also non -reversible and is for life. The next few weeks were a gigantic learning curve ...liquids only for 4 weeks...pureed food for next 4 weeks...mashed food for the 4 weeks after that then introducing ordinary food one food group at a time. There are some foods which I cant tolerate and result in illness....nausea or sitting on the it has been a few months of trial and error. This last 3 months life has begun to revert back to some semblance of normality as I pretty much know what I can and cannot eat and I very definitely know the actual portion size I can cope with....(think very small ) year on what changes have occurred and was it worth it???

Well....I weighed myself this morning and the scales touched on 12 stones 8 I have lost just over 8 stones...and my clothes size is approx 14/16 depending on where I buy and what style BMI is 29 and altho I am still in the obese range I am not morbid or super anything.!! I have lost the predicted 70% weight reduction and whilst I was losing a stone per month I have slowed down as expected to approx 5lbs per month and probably will settle round about the 11 stone mark which should give me a BMI in the healthy range and weight classification as normal .

It has been an interesting process for me discovering aspects of myself which have encouraged me but also which I know I still have to work on. It is very true that weight doesn't really affect who we are deep down ...altho it does affect greatly how we function. I am still the same person with the same failings...the same character flaws ....but because I am not labouring under so much unhealthy - ness I am more able to deal with the day to day stuff that comes my way. I have more energy...more joy...more hope...more peace....more determination...more confidence....

So....what are the huge plus points .... the compliments are lovely....altho I do smile when the odd person says..."don't you go wasting away now."....I love shopping for clothes and being cross because the garment I like doesn't come in smaller sizes...what a hoot that is ! I still sometimes change my outfit several times before I go out...but now its because I have a great choice rather than hating how I look. I don't mind getting my photos taken....I can get down on my knees and play with Elisha...I can walk further and quicker than before. I don't have mysterious aches and pains....loads more but wont bore you.

The biggest negative is one which I realised only in this last month...and it surely is a spiritual battle which I may be destined to fight for quite some time. It reminds me of Paul when he wrote about the "thorn in the flesh " that he prayed for God to remove it from him....I have written in past blog entries about "thorns" and about some areas where I am still living in "the shadow of victory" and this particular thorn is still with me ... The desire to eat wrong food....I have never eaten huge amounts of what I call ordinary overeating has always been sweet things...chocolate and ice cream and biscuits etc I have been shocked that I still want to eat these even when I know I cant and shouldnt and it could make me ill....Over the festive season I have nibbled away at things like shortbread...chocolate yule log etc and paid the price the following day. The emotions behind the sweet addiction are still only dealt with the physical aspect of my over eating not the emotional reasons and I am setting my face towards God in 2012 in the hope that He will enable me to win through.

As friends have asked me how I am losing weight I have been honest and told them...and I have had several conversations with women who have dieted for me dieting is the thing they can do and do well...but maintaining a healthy weight is the difficult part.Several times these conversations have led to tears as they have shared how they are weary of the fight!! I am so aware this is a battle field for many of us and have such empathy for those who are still struggling. It has made me also think about how we as a society view obesity . I truly believe it is an "illness" and I am not using this as a cop out but for me it has never been a simple case of " lose weight"...there are many reasons behind why I was overweight and eating too much is way too simplistic. It is an addiction but unlike other addictions it is portrayed as being easy to overcome....with so many TV programmes dedicated to many magazine many celebrities pushing their latest DVD , We also embrace obesity as part and parcel of is acceptable to offer the overweight person a piece of cake or buy them chocolates...yet we wouldn't dream of offering heroin to a drug addict or a large whisky to an alcoholic. I have no idea how I can change the way we view obesity.....or how I can be of help to others...maybe this is yet another dimension to my life that God has chosen for me to think and pray about.