Monthly Archives: March 2009


Three hundred children assembled in Cowes Yacht Haven, a massive venue, in front of a packed audience. The entire massed bands and choir of the County Music Centre all performing in one single concert in celebration of the Music Centre’s 30th anniversary. Each band and orchestra and choir performed a couple of pieces of their own, the Smudgelet singing with the choir and playing his tuba in the Foundation Wind Band; a totally new composition was played by the Youth Wind Band and conducted by the composer – a really amazing piece of music; and as the most incredibly and moving finale (apart from one short bit that moved me to grimace as the violins were somewhat out of time for a couple of bars!), the entire Music Centre played the 1812 Overture – complete with pyrotechnics! – with every single child having a part to play. I had a lump in my throat and they got a well deserved standing ovation.

Got it all to hear again tomorrow.

contemplative worship day – The Circus

The monthly Contemplative Worship day was held today and the theme was The Circus. A strange choice, perhaps (it was dictated by a themed open day in the church a few days previously) but an effective one. I took advantage of the quiet, the sun streaming in through the stained glass windows (a geometric pattern of coloured glass rather than pictures), gentle music in the background, to write a letter to my son using the glittery gel pens on offer. I managed to work my way through three of them, so he’ll be getting a rather glittery multi-coloured letter. Hope the censor is wearing sunglasses 😀

I don’t think God minded me taking time out in a contemplative worship day to write to my son. I hope not, anyway. The theme meant a lot to me in my relationship with God, so I took time out to write some of that down too.

It takes such concentration, Lord.
These juggling balls – I daren’t take my eyes off them for a minute.
For one brief moment I find myself free as I launch them into the air,
but as soon as I do, another needs catching and tossing up high again.
I master three, and a fourth comes unexpectedly to join them.
I master four, and suddenly there’s a fifth.
Round and round they go – job, children, church, commitments.
A moment’s hesitation and they’ll all come tumbling down.
There’s only me – must keep my eyes on the balls.

Look at me, my child.
Look at me.
I am here – trust me.
You can let them fall. I will catch them.
Look at me.

It takes such concentration, Lord.
This unicycle ride – I sway from one direction to the next.
Forward. Backward. I think I have gained my balance, then I’m teetering again.
Simply have to keep pedalling, just keep pedalling.
Perpetual motion is the only way to get any sensation of security.
Hither, thither, no way to steer, just keep moving, that’s the thing.
A moment’s hesitation and I’ll find myself hurtling down with a bump.
It’s all too uncertain – just keep pedalling.

Look at me, my child.
Be still, and know that I am God.
I am here – trust me.
Mine are the strong arms, waiting to support you;
to guide you; to catch you; to hold you on solid ground.
Look at me, my child.
Be still, and know that I am God.


I decided, on consideration, that I would sleep through tonight’s episode of Lewis on ITV, because I can sleep through 1st Ladies’ Detective Agency on i-player tomorrow.

What also happened?

Have you spotted any of my not-so-subtle hints?
I got the job.
I got the job.

It’s nothing short of a miracle. The two days before going I was a total gibbering wreck. A few prayers later and I was Miss Calm and Confident, negotiating complex travel arrangements and giving of my best (and most honest) in interview.

And I got the job. Woohooooooooooooooooooo 😀

As you can tell, I am fairly happy!

Woohoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo 😀

I have escaped teaching (or will have done, once I have had my CRB check through and worked my notice) and will be moving into something which pays less and is in a far more expensive part of the country. Yippppeeeeeeeee! God is good. And I am learning not to worry about the money side of things – God is good and this is, I’m sure, precisely where he wants me, so my job is simply to trust and give it my all.

Good grief. How on EARTH am I going to get all this clutter sorted and packed and fit it into a house less than half the size? BLEUGH!

So much to think about. Housing, letting our home, finding a new school for Smudgelet, finding a new church, making new friends, managing the finances, learning new skills and filing some old skills away. Scary, and yet another layer of mindblowing overloading don’t-know-what-to-think-about-first-isms, so your ongoing prayer is very much needed. But.


What happened?

I can’t tell you about sentencing really – this is the wrong place.
But it happened.
There were few surprises.
I was not allowed to sit with him, of course, or to speak to him or touch him, only to see him across the courtroom. But the interminable waiting was avoided – everything ran fairly to time.
He coped OK. So did I, really. And it is good to get the waiting over.

I was glad I had allowed myself space to cry. I used it.
And was slightly less tee-almost than usual.

Mothering Sunday

A chance to thank God for the two fantastic sons who bring joy to my life (grey hairs and stress, yes, but an equal measure of joy – I wouldn’t be without them). For me, being a mother has brought a great sense of purpose and fulfilment, as well as a permanently stretched bank account.

A chance to thank God for the excellent foundation for life provided through the love of my family. Knowing the hardship my boys experienced in their early years makes me all the more appreciative of that. My father provided stability and a sense of safety that he never experienced as a child – I never knew my grandfather and my father rarely spoke about him, but the little I know of him from my mum explains much about my own Dad’s insecurities. My mother provided wisdom and a tangible love. In my siblings I had a support network second to none. My childhood was a happy one and my adult life, too, has been one where I have been surrounded by love and security, even now. I miss my parents greatly and think of them often, but it is testimony to the start they gave me and all that they taught me that my life is built on those sure foundations.

A chance to thank God for my wonderful friend Honorary Auntie M. It breaks my heart to think of leaving her behind when we move away. She fills a little of that mum-shaped hole and I will miss her immensely, as I know she will us. Today we took her out for lunch.

A chance to thank God for my mother church. I have had so many wonderful church families as I grew up, each of them contributing in some way to the person I am now. And this morning I was overwhelmed yet again by their love and support for us. This morning especially I felt mothered by my church.

There was, of course, the inevitable sadness. Not only was it the first visit to church since sentencing, but more to the point, one of my boys was not there. As the Sunday School distributed gifts to everyone (men and women alike!) and were sent to give to their own parents first, there was joy at receiving from the Smudgelet, but a hard-to-hide tear at the knowledge that another young man should have been there giving out those gifts and charming the old ladies with his easy smile. The lump in my throat hearing with newly deepened understanding the Gospel account of Mary at the foot of the cross. The sadness at opening a gift from my eldest that he hadn’t seen (the result of clandestine phone calls between him and Honorary Auntie M) and having to take a photo of it to send to him. But would I be without that sorrow? If I could turn the clock back, would I? Not a bit of it. I have two sons and I love and delight in them both, no matter what.

Though I shouldn’t have had to make my own breakfast !

We’re back… at least for now.

Did you miss us?

The Smudgelet and I absconded for a much needed holiday in the sunny South of Wales (dare I mention that?). It. Was. Bliss. We had a lovely time – as did the two jamjars full of frogspawn which came with us. We played on the beach, we went bowling, we explored three very different castles, we ate extremely unhealthily, we window-shopped, we played crazy golf, and we got addicted to those dance games in amusement arcades where you have to stamp on the right part of the mat according to the instructions on the screen. Was I any good at the latter? Boy, was I good! Well, better than the Smudgelet anyway, which did my streetcred a bit of good, even if he did beat me at bowling.

We saw some friends too, which added to the fun.

We did a few bits of serious talking, a necessity unfortunately, but that went reasonably well and we were able to talk and move from that to enjoying ourselves without feeling guilty or overcast (I know that’s not precisely a feeling, but you probably know what I mean)

And look at that, the sun shone for the entire week! Thank you God.

Thank you for your prayers. Keep ’em coming

If there ever was evidence for the power of prayer, it’s the fact that I failed to have a nervous breakdown this weekend, but instead got myself from here to various venues in London to do three important things – to deliver the Smudgelet to my sister who has taken him off to stay with her for the weekend, to visit two very special friends and my brand new (and really rather gorgeous, as I can say totally without bias) Goddaughter, and to do two interviews for a job I’d really really love. How I achieved this is totally beyond my grasp, but achieve it I did. And my reward was a boost to my confidence at finally finding a job other than teaching that I could not only do but know I could really enjoy; a boost to my confidence at being able to keep my calm and perform adequately well at interview to feel satisfied that the rest is in God’s hands whether it is where he wants me to be or not, (that I could keep calm and perform well per se, let alone when under quite a bit of stress!); a boost to my confidence at organising quite tortuous travel arrangements; and most important of all, hours of serious snuggling with the most relaxing and precious young lady who is now just hours from being three weeks old 😀

Now my thinking can focus a little more.

Drowned Rat

I am just waiting for the phone call. It was supposed to be a phone call from my brother to say “I am just setting out home from the pub – put the dinner on!” but in fact I know that it is going to turn out to be “I am just about to set home from the pub and it’s blowing a gale, complete with torrential rain out there – put the dinner on, then come and pick me up, would you?”

I’m a lovely little sister, I am.