Sunday, March 15, 2015

Sunday Reflection

As for Mary, she treasured all these things and pondered them in her heart. 
Luke 2:19

It's Mothering Sunday here in the UK.  I've had a nice day, cards, gifts and messages from my children, (including this handmade love heart). A quiet day, church in the morning, pottering around in my kitchen and sitting outside in the sunshine. It's almost 35 years since I became a mother for the first time. Four children and three grandchildren later, my heart is full of many treasures. I am so thankful for all my family. We have our moments, like everyone, but I have been very blessed with my clan. I have been pondering many precious memories today.

I've always liked this verse about Mary, pondering all the amazing things that she witnessed. No cameras, facebooking, blogging and suchlike in those days- she stored up these treasures in her heart. She pondered and reflected upon them. When she said yes, to God's messenger, she had no idea where this journey would take her. It was a hard road too - shame, poverty, homelessness, becoming a refugee, exile and all the normal ups and downs of parenting along the way. She endured all this, so that God's great plan of salvation could be fulfilled. It was a road that led her to stand at the foot of that Cross and watch her Son die for our sins. Such unconditional love. God assured her He would be with her all the way, and she believed with all her heart. 
He is with us too - all we need to do is open our hearts to his unconditional love.  His arms are outstretched towards us right now  A good thought to ponder upon xx

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Seven Days

It's been a quick week - and another stormy one too, but there have been special in between moments that I want to remember.

::  A brisk walk along the beach, dodging   the hail showers.

:: A surprise gift of a hot stone massage, from a dear friend who took me there, did my shopping and came back for me, (she also gave me enough warning so that I didn't wear the baggy knickers 😶)

:: Being outside.

:: Happy that a recipe idea worked out (later)

:: Earlier sunrises 

:: Knitting at the airport 

:: Getting my husband home from hospital, and lunching outside on a gloriously warm spring day.

Wishing you all a precious seven days ahead. xx

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Around the croft

 I planted some spring bulbs on the grassy bank around the outside of the gate, and am so pleased that they are beginning to show.  I love seeing these little dots of colour, and marvel each time at how they have made it through this stormy winter. Not everything is looking so spring-like though...

...but we will draw a veil over the shredded polytunnel, the overgrown uncleared beds, the garlic shooting up from last year's unharvested cloves, and the wind-strewn debris scattered all over the place. Gloss over the fact that nothing has been planted or sown, and everything is all a little dispiriting. Yes, let's move on from the devastation of winter.

The primula are flowering

I have springtime on my window sill.

And there was one beautifully warm Tuesday, when I was able to dig out the deck chair and drink my first outdoor cup of tea this year. It was so uplifting sitting there in the sunshine, making plans for the new season. With the departure of the livestock, growing will be the focus of the croft work this year, and so plans and ideas will revolve around that aspect. The new cover for the polytunnel has been delivered, this year's seeds and tubers have arrived,  I am planning to put another, more convenient gate into that fence, and convert the cattle trailer into a garden shed, of sorts. I am enjoying this book, oh - and have ordered this one too. Who knows what will grow in this year's garden, but we can only try again, one seed at a time. xx

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Reflection

But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage. It is I. Don't be afraid"
Matthew 14:27

I've always liked the story of Jesus, walking on the water. As his friends struggled against the waves that suddenly blew up, he comes gliding over to them - the very image is calming. It's one of those passages which has something new for me, every time I read it. 
We've been in some stormy seas recently, as I wrote in my last post, and I have felt myself sinking at times. But then I seem to find the strength I need to get to get to the surface. The Lord puts out his hand and says "it is I - don't be afraid. His hand can come from a friendly word and a hug from a friend, the thoughtfulness of a neighbour, a kind and loving comment left on the blog from someone I've never met. It is in the prayers of the many over the world that I know are praying for us, and I am not afraid. 
Jesus told the disciples to get into the boat and cross to the other side ahead of him. That meant he would meet them there and they would cross safely. But then this unexpected storm blew up and caused them to struggle. They panicked, they doubted, they were scared and probably wondered just what on earth they were doing. Then, just before the dawn - that darkest of hours, He came to them and calmed their fears.
 And so, for me too, it has been those panicky, doubting, how did I get here ,  moments that I have truly felt God's loving presence most. 

Wishing you a blessed week. xx

Friday, March 6, 2015

Into the wind

It has been blowing a gale today - again. It feels as if this wind has never stopped since the New Year. I took Mick for his usual walk down to the pier, this afternoon, and it was all I could do to push myself through the force field of the oncoming wind. The way home was much quicker, though.

There have been other storms in our lives this week too - battling against this wind of cancer. John had some new pain and weakness, and a CT scan hinted at something suspicious a bit higher up from where the spinal tumour was operated on. He was flown over to the mainland for an MRI scan which showed some new metastases in a couple of other spots in the bones of his spine. It is being treated with more radiotherapy, and we hope to have him back next week.

James and I have stayed home this time. We couldn't go on the helicopter, and the gales mean that the ferries are not running. John said he wanted me to have a rest, and to keep things running as normally as possible at home for James, who has had a lot of disruption over the last year. It wasn't an easy decision; we guessed he was likely to be told it was a progression of the disease, but probably on balance, it was the best call.
 The last week or so has been quite a difficult time, as his pain and anxiety increased. We have had some hard conversations - those important ones that you never imagine having to have. We are just beginning to work out the steps of this new dance,  although there are some sudden changes in tempo that catch us out often. A friend, whose husband also has cancer, said to me today that, although each new setback feels so devastating,  we somehow learn to accommodate that new situation and move forward. It's true. We keep on keeping on - what else would we do?
So - this week,  I have been waiting at home, staying busy with the everyday - feeding the hens,

planting seeds, 

cooking nourishing food,

casting on a new project with a giant ball of wool,

lighting the fire, watching tv and eating ice cream - just keeping time.

and at least I know he's been well looked after today. xx

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sunday Reflection

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”  Luke 22:19

This verse - particularly the last sentence, is so familiar to me. It has been inscribed on the front of every communion table I have ever seen. It serves as a reminder, whether it is a communion service or not, of the sacrifice made by the Lord, so that we may be redeemed. It is, of course, the central verse spoken during the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and the bread is broken before being passed round to the congregation. As I eat the bread, and drink to wine, I feel connected to to every Christian who has ever taken communion. It is a tangible legacy left to us by Jesus himself, and takes us right back to that table in the room in Jerusalem

We have just celebrated our Communion weekend. It happens here twice a year, in March and September, and is a big event in the life of our church. Usually, a  minister from another church is invited to preach the sermons. We have a service or prayer meeting every day, from the Thursday through to the Sunday morning, as we prepare ourselves to sit at the Lord's table, and then a thanksgiving service on the Sunday evening. It is a solemn and meditative journey, preparing to affirm our faith in Christ, or to profess it for the first time; there is always great excitement  if someones comes forward during these days. It is a time of  joy and celebration too - there are a couple of socials after the Friday and Sunday evening services - lots of food, chat and laughter. 

This weekend was very special - everyone I spoke to felt it too. The preaching was spirit-inspired, and the sacrament was beautiful. We sat in our seats long after the service was over, unwilling to come down from the mountain. People whispered words like - amazing, magical, wonderful... I hope and pray that this feeling will stay with us. 

Wishing all a very blessed and special week. xx


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