Glitter Hug’s

Once a year I reach into the back of my wardrobe to find  my best  rainbow-coloured clothes. Next comes the make – up which  includes painted flowers, rainbows , glitter, all perfect for spending the  afternoon at our local pride festival.
It’s a glittering festival  celebrating and demonstrating the wonderful diversity of love .  I spent  time  with a very unique inspiring friend ; catching up on his year and wishing we did not leave it so long before meeting up.
Most importantly we had a lot of fun: dancing,  eating,  partying , soaking up the atmosphere, enjoying the free hugs and love that you only get at Pride.
When we could dance no more, we exchanged glitter-laden hugs, laughed the way our painted faces left impressions on each other and we went our separate ways.
Both knowing despite good intentions it would be another year before we meet up again.
Seeking a coffee I found myself sat in the  peaceful Cathedral gardens; in the distance the Pride festival was still filling the air with music.
The week’s troubles and questions soon filled the quiet spaces and the dark cloud that has been with me all week slowly started to return.
Exiting the Cathedral via the gift shop, I treated myself to a copy of “The Message”. Instead of following the exit signs, I retraced my steps,  sitting  in the cathedral to have a very quick read of my new purchase.
The clouds started to lose their darkness ; questions that had no answers had light and hope.
Sitting on my own I was reading one of Peter’s letters’  in a busy Cathedral on a Saturday afternoon I was totally obvious to time and people ;  other than the presence of God which I felt so strongly.
Reading and praying caused lots of tears to form and as they ran they picked up the glitter and colours from my painted face and dropped multi-coloured glitter tears on my lap leaving rainbow marks on the pages of my new book.
Picking up my bag, smearing rainbow tears over my face I joined the congregation for choral  Evensong.
Evensong that Saturday was also a celebration;  a special wedding anniversary was being blessed at the service.
Sat with the wedding guests , I looked like a over-excited 40 year old having some sort of rainbow midlife crisis.
I was reminded why Pride is so important, working to ensure individuals and organisations can all be united by love.
Gods loves  us regardless of gender or sexuality, we are loved and made by God our Father.  For me the rainbow is a beautiful reminder that God is merciful and made a covenant of grace that he would never again judge with a worldwide Flood.

Leaving  the Cathedral  I felt like a multi-coloured rainbow full of life and energy and wanting to share my love.

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The Space Between Two Words.

For a while have I been trying to blog about the day I sat with my beautiful friend who was terminally ill with cancer.
I just could not find the words, so wrote this poem. It’s about the day we spent  together waiting for two callers.
First was the vet coming  to put my friend’s dog to sleep. A faithful old dog that was entering the end of her life. Cancer was eating her up at an alarming rate and she was suffering.
We made the decision that I could not look after two old ladies with cancer so Lucy was put to sleep with love and dignity. She died in our arms with the people she loved.
Hours later the ambulance came to take my friend to a hospice. A wonderful place full of compassionate staff. My friend slowly died over the next 6 weeks.
There are no words  to express how we both felt that day only silence between two friends.

The space between two words

Silence whirls and settles on the sofa.
Exhausted words filling every space.
Heartbroken words too afraid to form.
Locked up words that want to stamp and rage.
Unspoken painful truthful words.
Will it ever be the right time?
To say what’s on my mind.
Silence is the only word that remains.

Love and silence fills every space.
Salt-laced words that drip and run.
Words that can only be shed.
Splashing  overflowing  emotions that puddle and soothe.
Trying to tell each other that we both understand.
Wanting to shout out “Why?”.
Wanting to say, “Please don’t die.”

Memories marching though our minds:
Evenings on the sofa, tea and chatter
Like nothing mattered.
Mutual thinking, simultaneous laughter.
Parallel thoughts unite our pain.
Overflowing , overpowering unwanted grief.
Mourning, journeying, our eyes meet.

Eyes that tell our stories.
Eyes that do not lie.
Sandpaper exhausted eyes from late nights, early mornings.
Nursing my dying friend.
Her eyes old  and fading.
Tired  and cloudy near the end.
Observing eyes leaking painful tears.
Avoiding each other as it hurts to see
Just how much pain is inside you and me.

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Why I said “I do” again?

The reasons why I wanted to say “I do” again.

My dad escorted me down the aisle of our parish church, to marry the man of my dreams. Surrounded by friends and  family we said our vows to each other with love and meaning.
We were young, and very much head over heels in love. We are still very much in love. It’s a different love today; a love that has matured and developed with age. A  love that has been battered and bruised, a deep rooted love.

So why do it again?

I wanted to say the words with God in my heart . I wanted to stand at the altar and feel the words.  Not just say them – actually feel them .
God was not a part of my life when we got married .We exchanged our wedding vows, knelt for the prayers. The vows were exchanged with love, thought and meaning . The prayers  were said but only as words not with meaning.
Renewing our vows gave us the opportunity to  pray together as a couple. Holding hands, kneeling in prayer together, with a deep understanding that not only do we love each other, but God loves us too.
We made a promise before God with our friends and family 24 years ago and we affirmed that promise again and celebrated  our love for each other.

So why do it again ?

I wanted to show my love to my amazing man. Not just say “I love you” , I wanted him  to know how much  I love him. For him to understand  that I  married him for richer for poorer, for better for worse, and in sickness and in health .
These last 12 months we have been living the reality of vows we made to each other on our wedding day. We have felt poor both  financially and in life. The dark cloud of depression has shown us how  hard life can be living together during times of sickness. We have seen some of the worse days of  our lives.
I have prayed that we both had the strength to see us through the dark days. The days when depression and anger were all consuming.
The poor days have taught us how rich and beautiful the life we have together is .
It’s time to be thankful  for all that we have, learn to  accept our losses and move forward together with love.

Why I said “I do” again?

It was time to move forward with our lives; allow the wounds to heal.
We have been surrounded by love these last 12 months. Supported  by friends and family that have had little understanding as to why our lives fell apart.
They have not asked questions, just held us in love and walked us though our grief and pain.
Depression has left its scars but we are loved so much . I wanted to show my husband this amazing love and for him to see it with his own eyes.

Though prayer and love, God  has given me back the man I married.  A little older and balder but that sweet hearted funny man that I love is still there . He is shining and  I am feeling the warmth of his sunshine.
Life is not perfect. I  have been embracing each moment. Listening to the beautiful things he says and treasuring our time together as we are never sure what tomorrow will bring.

 

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Pray For The Homeless.

Under a bush hiding: pray for the homeless.
Around a quarter of those who are homeless had been in care at some point in their lives.

I pledge to pray for families; children in the care system and those involved in adoption.
When I first read on the “Thy Kingdom Come” website find some extreme places to pray and film yourselves doing it. I thought of all the beautiful places I could pray: high on a mountain, in a darkest cave, under water in the depth of the sea, riding my bike through the countryside.
When I read it again I realised that I can see God’s beauty and creation in all of these places.
But to others these are not places of beauty but are the extremes of their lives.
The forgotten families and children of our society, often out of sight and unnoticed.

Dear loving compassionate God.
I pray today for those young people living on our streets.
The homeless, the runaways.
Those that sleep in the cold, the destitute, the unloved.
Bless those who work to provide them with shelter: food and friendship.
May we find ways to reach them, give light and hope to their dark lives.
Amen.

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All things bright and beautiful

Day Thirty Two  – Friendship  – Lent challenge

Walked to work with lots to think about and pray about, I started in tears and ended in smiles and tears.
As I  walked  the hymn  All things bright and beautiful came into my head and I used it as my prayer .
I just said it out loud slowly as I walked , each word  reflecting on Gods  amazing creation all around me. Newly  formed leaves uncurling, the darkness  of winter was being pushed out with the new life, new beginnings, the blossom the bird song everything was sort of saying, how can you possibly be so  sad  and full of tears this morning when surrounded by God  and all his  beauty?
I  remembered we sang All things bright and beautiful at the funeral of a very special  friend , a true friend and a beautiful lady that had a wonderful and a natural earthy connection to our world.
Her green fingers and warm heart left a huge hole in my life when she died.
It was a friendship of over 30 years  she never talked about her faith to me, until I found mine ( I never told her ) , it was like she knew when I found God . She could see the little change in me that others could not .
I visited her regularly, dropping in shopping and just doing little things , we would sit together and just hold hands , it was being together and time together that counted .
She was brave and strong and had been a nurse all her life, she was no stranger to death and  had nursed her husband and sister though cancer.
When  she discovered she had massive lump under her arm , she knew it was cancer, she did not go straight to the doctors, she did not want to  fight a fight she could not win, she excepted her time was up and she had a wonderful life and it was time to go .
When it was obvious that medical help was needed  she went to her GP and requested no treatment only palliative care and that’s what she got .
As the end grew nearer her faith and her love for God was something I had never seen in her before , death seemed to make it more reachable for her, together we  could share a prayer or just pray silently together my faith was still so new to me but offered me great comfort knowing we both felt the love of God.
My friend was many things to me , she was bright and beautiful , definitely wise and wonderful , she always brighten up my sky’s , she was never afraid to use her lips to tell.
We both wore the same glowing colours and the Lord God  made us .

Psalm 118:24 – The LORD has done it this very day; let us rejoice today and be glad.

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Thank you Mister God for rest .

Day Thirty – Retreat – Lent challenge .

Mister God  this is Anna brought me to tears , it’s a moving beautiful true story about a runaway little girl and the young man who brought her home like a stray puppy in the 1930s. It’s about faith  love and friendship and Mister God, and all the things Anna taught Fynn before she died, and one or two things she taught him after.

I want to share my favourite bit of the book with you it just reminds me that I need to rest and  give my brain time to untangle the muddle and recharge .

Mum had this lovely gift of asking questions that landed somewhere .
what , she asked us one Sunday afternoon ” What was God’s greatest creative act?”
Anna was watching her intently in chin cupped in hands . There they sat , looking at each other , Mum with her wonderful smile and Anna with her intense look.
Suddenly it happened . Anna slowly placed her hands on the table and pushed herself upright . She gasped ” it was the seventh day of course ”
I don’t get it, I said . ” God worked all his miracles in six days and than shut down for a bit of a rest . What’s so exciting about that ?
“Why did Mister God rest on the seventh day ? “She began.
“I supposed was a bit flaked out after six days hard work” , I answered .
” He didn’t Rest because he was tired though.”
“Oh – didn’t he ?it makes me tired just to think about it all ”
” course he didn’t . He wasn’t tired .”
“Wasn’t he?”
” No – he made Rest.”
” Oh .He did that did he?”
” yes that’s the biggest miracle. Rest is . What do you think it was like before Mister God started the first day ?”
“A perishing muddle I guess”. I replied .
” yes, and you can’t rest when everything is in a big muddle , can you?”

My place to retreat / rest is my garden it’s  a quiet outdoor space where I found God  and feel his presence , it’s a place to reflect,  appreciate the silence the beauty and the spiritual  feeling my garden brings to me and to others .

Thank you Mister God for rest .

Mark   6:31 Come with me  by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.

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He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.

Our storm has blown itself out it was due to return January 2017, it’s been a very destructive storm that has left a massive debris trail and hurt many people close to my heart.
The clearing up will take a while but with love and prayer I am sure once we start the clean up work we will truly see the light from the terrible darkness we have been living in.
As I look back over the past 6 months I see such terrible darkness and pain but I also see the light and the hope that my faith gave me . The storm strengthened my faith, my confidence grew and I realised how much love was all around me , it gave me the strength to fight for justice , strong Friendships have been formed we laughed we cried and I understood the meaning of what a church family is and the support and love they showed was beyond words .
At times I became so low only my love for god and my determination not to be beaten allowed me to function .
I still have a poorly husband but now have a husband with a reason to get better, a reason to live and a future to plan.

Today my tears of gratitude flowed , my heart is filled with hope and thanks and the wonderful feeling that god my father has encouraged me and guided in my darkness , pushed me to my outer limits but never let me fall, dried my tears and held me tight .
When the pain became to much god just held me in his arms and allowed me to sleep the more I allowed god into my life and trusted , the stronger my faith grew
We are celebrating but it’s important to remember those that are still in the darkness especially pray for those that are alone as they have to yet find the love of god.
Today the word is so beautiful and exciting full of new opportunities

Psalms 118 This is the day which the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.

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