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.

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Greek Holiday 1989.

Day 14 – Lent Challenege 2018- Journey.

This year I am following a 12-month Bible reading plan.
The Journey through Acts sent me on a physical journey to the loft. After lots of rummaging through suitcases I finally found my Greek holiday journal from 1989.
This Journal is full of memories of a fabulous trip to Athens followed by a cruise around the islands.
It’s great to see my photos of the places mentioned in my Bible readings . The places I visited as a teenager are helping me today. Joining up my worlds making the Bible come alive .

Years later my travelling companion introduced me to my husband, supported me through pregnancy loss. When her beautiful baby daughter was baptised she choose me to be one of her God parents.
It’s a massive hug of thanks to my friend of many many years.

Acts 17:16 Good News Translation
While Paul was waiting in Athens for Silas and Timothy, he was greatly upset when he noticed how full of idols the city was.

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Acts 21:1 Good News Translation
We said good-bye to them and left. After sailing straight across, we came to Cos; the next day we reached Rhodes, and from there we went on to Patara.

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Acts 19 Good News Translation
While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior of the province and arrived in Ephesus.

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Revelation 1 Good News Translation
9 I am John, your brother, and as a follower of Jesus I am your partner in patiently enduring the suffering that comes to those who belong to his Kingdom. I was put on the island of Patmos because I had proclaimed God’s word and the truth that Jesus revealed.

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Five little glimmers of hope.

Day Three – Lent Challnge 2018 – Breathe.

Today’s Lent challenge prompt is “breathe ” and I chose to share and say thank you, to  my five little glimmers of hope that never took their first breath.
Pregnancy loss is devastating and lonely.
It was a time when I had no faith, a time when prayer offered no comfort.
All the excitement and joy I had for the precious life I carried was instantly gone.

When God came into my life I have been able to find the peace and comfort that I needed to let go of 20 years of emotional pain. Focus on what I have rather than what I have not.
Our five little glimmers of hope. Taught me how precious life is. How we cannot take it for granted. Sometimes something’s are just beyond our control.

This verse is one that I need to remind myself of every now and again. They were wonderfully fearfully made. The one who creates all and provides all.
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Psalm 139 – 13-16
For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.[a]
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.

Missing This Christmas.

Dad won’t be sat at the Christmas table today.
Joanne will not turn up overloaded with beautifully wrapped grifts.
Dad won’t complain the sprouts are overdone.
Joanne won’t delight us with her stories .
But they will be with us this Christmas .

Our little boy won’t run down stairs to see if Santa has been.
Our little girl will not ask if it’s morning yet.
But presents will be brought.
Santa will come
They will be with us this Christmas.

Mum won’t sit at the head of the table.
Our large family of children will not cause chaos.
Mum won’t refuse us ice-cream and custard.
Children’s delightful faces will never be seen.
But they will be with us this Christmas.

I keep them all alive .
In ways that others might not see.
My prayers today are for them the ones I and cannot see.

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I will Never.

Day Thirty Five – Imagine  – lent Challenge

I never imagined I would be able to say goodbye to my babies that died, I never imagined there would be the right place, or the right time.
I never imagined I would have the strength to let them go, the courage to face the realisation that I can’t hold on to them for ever. This was all made possible by the faith I never imagined I would have .
The right place was the Lady’s Chapel in Exeter cathedral, the right time was 8th of April 2017.
The strength and courage came from God and prayers.

The service was beautiful and very moving acknowledging baby loss as something you never get over but something you need to learn to live with.
The poem ” I will Never ” by Clark- Coates / Fossberry was read out and afterwards a hand bell was passed around during the playing of Pie Jesu recorded by Katherine Jenkins .

I held the bell knowing I would chime it 5 times, a chime for each precious life, it felt for the first time that they were babies .
I prayed for God to care for them until I can be with them again, I looked at the candles burning in the chapel, as the flame flickered it reminded me that although they are gone the flame in my heart will never go out but remain lit and burn brightly.
The chimes allowed me to let go and pass my pain to God, I have carried this pain for a very long time and the time has come to allow God to carry the pain and leave me with warmth and love .
The beautiful stained glass window In the chapel showed Mary holding Jesus as a baby cradled lovingly in her arms. The little baby that she had once held in her arms died crucified on a wooden cross, and pierced her heart. Jesus was her son and she was his mother .

In the presence of God I said my goodbyes, God who knows my needs, hears my cries and heals my wounds .
The hymn Amazing Grace was sung and radiated around the little chapel, the light of the spring day cast colourful shadows of light over us as we sang. The warmth of this sun gently soothing my pain and drying my tears .

I Will Never

I will never get to hold your hand through a storm.
I will never get to wipe your sticky fingers.
I will never get to teach you to tie your shoelaces.

I will never get to watch you catch your first snowflake.
I will never get to know who your best friend would have been.
I will never get to see you fall in love.
I will never get to hear you tell me about your first day at work.
I will never get to hear you tell me ” l’m going to be a grandparent.
But always know ……..
I will never be too proud to ask for help.
I will never be too scared to say this hurts.
I will never be too frightened to declare you matter.
I will never be too afraid to carry on living .
And
I will never forget you
I will never stop saying your name.
I will never stop wondering who you would have been.
I will never stop loving you.
I will never stop remembering the sound of this bell, rung in memory of you.
By Clark – Coates / Fosberry.

1 Peter 5:7Good News Translation
Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.

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Scared to be still.

Day Thirty Three – Still – Lent challenge.
When I read my old blogs it’s amazing how far I have come, there are good days and bad days but life is so much better, but I can’t relax, forgotten how to.
I am scared to be still, scared to stop for too long, Burning the candle at both ends, late nights and early mornings is at times exhausting.
The massive hole in my life needs plugging, so I fill it by keeping busy filling the hole seems the only way to cope but only prolongs and hides the grief.
Times of stillness are rare and it’s often only when I pray do I dare to allow myself to stop, but it’s safe in prayer, I feel held in Gods love,  it’s a time to reflect, recharge and take my strength from God.
As soon as I open my eyes say Amen my brain is off planning thinking and busy busy busy.
The grief of the past years all seem to have all been rolled into one big hole and I need to find ways to deal with this grief and than I  feel that I might be able to stop and relax.
This weekend I will be attending a remembrance service at Exeter Cathedral for those who have lost a child at any stage of pregnancy. I will for the first time be in a space to pray for them and hold them in my heart acknowledge each one as the child I carried and loved.
Lighting 5 little candles will be very special and important part of grieving and moving on.

John 14 :1-6 ” What God creates God loves and what God loves God loves everlasting”

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Agony of infertility

Day Twelve –  lent challenge-  Hope
For 21 years, I struggled to conceive . I counted days, took vitamins, fertility chats , blood tests
God has used the agony of infertility to grow and shape my faith I am grateful for my infertility. It is a blessing that took me on a journey of fostering and faith .

If you are struggling with infertility, God holds you close to His heart. I pray that wherever you are on this journey, that God will give you wisdom and peace

When a negative becomes both positive and negative .

We both agreed to start a family
10 months latter baby – easy
21 years pass no baby number two.
Ovulation, pregnancy dominated my every thought .
Positive tests have negative outcomes
Negative tests have negative outcomes .
Positive means pregnant – pain and loss
Negative means not pregnant – pain and loss
Miscarriage’s , ectopic pregnancy’s
Life of folic acid, healthy eating, doctors fertility clinics
Pregnancies that threaten my life.
Emergency surgery – grief , hurt , anger .
Heart full of love for each unborn child.
Children that never grew up,
Children that never cried.
Beautiful loved babies ,
Blessed that I have learned to except
Able to grieve and cry
Never ever giving up hope .

“even tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil – for you are with me – your rod and staff comfort me” psalm 23

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