Valued and Loved.

Day 33- Lent challenge – Give

We need four hugs a day for survival, Eight hugs a day for maintenance 12 hugs a day for growth.
We really don’t hug enough. Twelve hugs a day for growth that’s almost one hug for every waking hour.
There’s something about the raw simplicity of a genuine hug. There’s beauty in that simplicity. It’s love compassion and peace. A gift that holds you in the moment. A hug is love in action, love without language. It’s love from within spilling out from our hearts into our arms.
Theirs a human connection in a hug. Jesus touched the untouchable, embraced the children. Jesus did not wave from a distance, acknowledge our pain with a dutiful smile. He did not love and heal with an a understanding nod of his head. He embraced.In that embracing opening a way to God, forming human connections and expressions of love. To hug and love each other is profound and real. A living connection to God. A loving connection that children by their very nature understand. A connection as adults we forget.
I defiantly think we should hug more.
I read the other day that a hug is an outward sign of an inward grace. It expresses our spiritual oneness with God and each other.
What could be more beautiful?

Todays blog is a thank you to a very special person. A humble friend with a big heart. They give the warmest most sincere hugs. It’s a gift to be able to hug as they do. Being loved by God while being held in their loving arms. Held in the moment, valued and loved, it’s a transfer of emotions.
I need to challenge myself to hug more. Reaching out to those I love and those who need to feel love and compassion .
Remember we need four hugs a day for survival, Eight hugs a day for maintenance 12 hugs a day for growth.
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Matthew 11:28-30 Good News Translation (GNT)
28 “Come to me, all of you who are tired from carrying heavy loads, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke and put it on you, and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in spirit; and you will find rest. 30 For the yoke I will give you is easy, and the load I will put on you is light.”

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The school run, Pie Jesu and Henry King.

Day 32- lent Challenge – Remain.

Today’s blog is for my head of house.
When my mum was recently asked. Which four people would she have round for a dinner party (dead or alive) and why? She choose; her granddaughter, her grandfather, a personal friend, and her old English teacher (who went onto be my head of house at school).

I recently asked my mum why she choose him. The main reason was she felt valued. She went on to say that he cared and taught passionately. His love for poetry was something he wanted to pass onto others.
That passion for poetry has stayed with my mum. It’s a beautiful gift, that she has passed onto my daughter.
As children we grew up with my mum reciting poems at any opportunity. This was normally Sunday after lunch. We would all stay sat at the table listening to my mum performing poetry. ( Her owl and pussycat adds a whole new dimension to spoken word poetry) .
Our family favourite poem was the “ Chief Defect Of Henry King “ by Hilaire Belloc. We still all love this silly nonsense poem about little bits of string.
Mothering Sunday afternoon Henry King made an unexpected visit, accompanied by my mum sister and nephew. We spent a blessed hour together. A rare hour full of joy and laughter.
My mum sat on the sofa reciting poems. My 7-year-old nephew adding his own silly words. We all laughed so much.
So a huge thank you to this wonderful teacher for making my mum feel valued. For Teaching her poetry that remains with us and has been passed onto future generations.

My turn.
This wonderful teacher was getting near retirement when he became my head of house.  He held house assembley three times a week, this was a mix of school notices, poetry and prayer.
He always played a track of classical music at the start of assembly, during which he would walk with purpose into the assembly hall.
One morning he walked into the hall to the music “Pie Jesu”. The mood was somber as he gently broke the news to us that our much-loved tutor had been killed in a car crash. The music played on quietly as he spoke soft sincere words of grief and pain. I remember how we felt valued and loved by this teacher, he felt our pain.

Many years later listening to the same piece of music God spoke to me. I was not aware of this at the time. I was not completely listening, not yet ready. A little spark of faith very dimly ignited for a few seconds.
All this happened a few days after 9/11. I was driving to collect my daughter from school. Listening to my new cd of “Pie Jesu” that I felt compelled to buy only hours earlier. I had never even thought about this music until the tragic events of 9/11. The grief I felt connected me with that school assembley so many years before.
Listening to the music I ended up driving and parking near the church. With time to spare before my daughter finished school, I walked into the empty church. Sitting down very very briefly before leaving.
I look back on that day and see it as a wobbly God moment. I often wonder how close I was that day to a prayer. How close I was to opening my heart to God.

Last year “Pie Jesu” was sung at the saying goodbye service at Exeter Cathedral ( you can read more about it here). The service that offered me great comfort and support. Little steps in healing the pain caused by pregnancy loss. Giving my pain to God. It was such a powerful and moving day. Powerful emotions of a journey travelled.

It’s looking back that I see God showing up in my lifetime and time again. Showing up in the ordinary. I love the ordinary amazing things that Holy spirit does for us. Giving space and vision in our lives to turn the ordinary into something extra extraordinary.
Personally for me that’s so awesome, powerful and wonderful. God revealing himself to me in my ordinary routines. The school run, Pie Jesu and Henry King.

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Romans 12:1-2 The Message (MSG)
Place Your Life Before God
12 1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Love – Faith – Friendship.

Day 30 – Lent challenge – Friendship

This poem is for a friend. It tells of our journey together.

Love – Faith – Friendship.

Friendship of colours painted on faces.
Blended with glitter and sparkly dust.
Henna flowers on the backs of our hands
Hugs of glitter crafted in love.
Friendship, painted, splattered.
shared.

Bold colours blossomed.
So we grow.
Journeying as families
We loved
Through tears we said our goodbyes

Harsh times.
Vulnerable hurting.
Anchoring our hearts in pain.
Holding firm you kept us secure.
You understand our pain.

Quietly empty our hearts longing.
Stopped and stunned empty silence .
Roots form.
Intertwined with leaves of children’s laughter
Families standing together.
We blossom.
Grow.

New beginnings -fresh laughter.
Breakfasts cooked- films watched
Sunrise blocking out our pains.
Renewed charged.
changed.

Nourished by just being.
We breathe.
Nurtured by prayer.
love.
Faith.
Friendship.
We share.

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1 Corinthians 13:4-8 Good News Translation (GNT)

4 Love is patient and kind; it is not jealous or conceited or proud; 5 love is not ill-mannered or selfish or irritable; love does not keep a record of wrongs; 6 love is not happy with evil, but is happy with the truth. 7 Love never gives up; and its faith, hope, and patience never fail.

8 Love is eternal. There are inspired messages, but they are temporary; there are gifts of speaking in strange tongues, but they will cease; there is knowledge, but it will pass.

A choice that was no choice at all.

Reading someone else’s blog the following words shouted out from the page.

“You had a choice,” she said, “but you did not have free will.” A choice that was no choice at all.

These words have been said to me in similar ways more than once in the last 18 months. In my grief they offered no comfort. I was not ready to hear the words “no choice”, not ready to believe that I had no choice at all.

I had no choice but to turn and walk away.
Holding you in my arms, I told you a life with this new family would be so much better than a life with me.
Expressed my happiness in all that was happening.
I told you that it was going to amazing and wonderful.
A choice that was no choice at all.
I hugged you a hug of a thousand words.
Inward tears streamed inside of me .
I smiled so you understood it was ok.
A smile that was just muscles moving my face.
It was a smile that wanted to scream.
I had no choice but to smile.
No choice but to leave and not look back.
I could not look back.
You trusted me.
You could not see my face grumbling in grief .
Relief momentarily numbed the pain.
Relief that I held it together.
Relief that I made it outside before I gave into searing heat of breaking pain.

A choice that was no choice at all.

No choice is why I could not cry.
No choice why you could not stay.
I had no choice but to leave and say goodbye.

I had free will but no choice.

Loving Father
Please let your will be done in my life. If it’s not your will let it slip through my grasp. Give me the strength to forgive those that hurt the ones I love. Give me the courage to face my fears. The peace not to worry about the things I cannot control or change.
Amen.

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Magnetic Sisters  

Life of mud and wellington boots.
Coloured pens that echo my thoughts.
Fluffy blankets in case my dreams.
Wild hair that lives its own life in its own time.
I dream.

Food cupboards sorted by colour and size.
Hair that’s brushed and not in your eyes.
Beds made, house neatly clean.
Magnificently sublime.
Magnetic sister.

Your hate has so much energy.
Physical punches aimed my way.
I would never fight, just flee
Shyly introverting
Quietly crying.
You hurt me.

Reborn I see your vulnerability.
I want to understand your pain.
It’s time to stop repealing
Stop guarding what we know.
We love each other so deeply.
I know want my love to show.

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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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Colours Are My Smiles

Imagine your true colours.
Colours of your thoughts.
Colours of your dreams.
Words of colours.
I’m Green.

I am not a solid Green or Environmentally Green, not even politely Green.
Dappled shades of Green.
Green that diffuses with warm sunlight
Electric Greens that dazzle so bright.
Greens so white they could be snow
Splashes,dashes blobs and spots of Green.

Green is good it’s safe and warm.
Feeding and nourishing protecting from the storms.
Searching, holding, pushing, seeking light.
Sown and threaded though my soul.
Crafted grafted uniquely Green.

I won’t be Green forever it changes as I grow.
The goodness from the greenery is taking me where I need to go.
Greens tipped with Yellows, Green splashed with Pink.
Mixed so slowly they are at first they are just hints.
Colours slowly settle and drift into my haze.
Swirling mixing drifting down, finding a place to stay.

My colours are my smiles.
The prayers I say each day.
My colours are not mine to keep.
I need to learn to give them away.

I pray that this can happen.
And that I will not stay just Green.
Green is safe it’s quiet and calm.
Rainbow enriched colours splashing light.
Giving me a rich vibrant new life.
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