Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Happy New Year

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year

'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.'
And he replied, 'Go into the darkness and put your hand into the hand of God
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way!'

So I went forth and finding the Hand of God
Trod gladly into the night
He led me towards the hills
And the breaking of day in the lone east.

So heart be still!
What need our human life to know
If God hath comprehension?

In all the dizzy strife of things
Both high and low,
God hideth his intention."

"This poem was written in 1908 by Minnie Louise Haskins, an American lecturer at the London School of Economics, who wrote as a hobby. It was a favourite of Queen Elizabeth the late Queen Mother, who showed it to her husband King George VI. He included it in his famous Christmas message broadcast in 1939 at the beginning of the Second World War. After the King's death the Queen Mother had it engraved on bronze plaques on the entrance to the King George VI Memorial Chapel,Windsor, where both are now interred. It was also read at the funeral service of the Queen Mother.

Wishing you a Happy New Year

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Wordless Wednesday

My day out with fellow Workplace Chaplains visiting The Essex Fire Training Centre - don't try this at home folks!!

visit Wordless Wednesday for other contributors.

My World Tuesday - Princess Alice

The location where the disaster took place - in the distance the City of London

On the 3rd September 1878 the Princess Alice Pleasure Steamer sunk off Creekmouth. Approximately 700 people lost their lives in the disaster. In Woolwich cemetery, which is on the other side of the River Thames, a memorial was erected to commemorate the lives lost; however, it was the residents of a village called Creekmouth who helped in the rescue attempts and this has never been fully acknowledged.

Memorial service taking place - some folk who attended were distant relatives of those who lost their lives - others were grandchildren/great grandchildren of the villagers who helped in the rescue attempt.

On the 3rd September 2008 my husband, Nigel, was asked to lead a memorial service for those who lost their lives and a thanksgiving service for the villages who risked their lives in attempting a rescue service. The service took place where Creekmouth Village once stood but was unfortunately destroyed by a flood in 1953. Over 700 daffodil bulbs were planted - one for each person who perished that tragic evening. Next spring I will return again and take photos of the glorious daffodils.
Nigel leading the Memorial Service

Over 700 Daffodil bulbs were planted.

for other world views -please visit My World Tuesday

Monday, 29 December 2008

Blue Monday

One of the advantages of living on an Island is that you always have family somewhere near the sea, which means you can visit them to watch an Airshow on a Bank Holiday Monday. I don't know what it is like where you live but in the UK you can normally guarantee that on a Bank Holiday - when most of the major Craft shows, Fayre's, Airshows take place - that it will rain!!! but sometimes we are pleasantly surprised and the day turns out to be glorious.

These pictures were taken a few years ago of The Red Arrows (Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team) at an Airshow near where we lived. The sky was a brilliant blue which gave full advantage to The Red Arrows to perform their routine and for us, the audience, to watch in amazement.

The Red Arrows are an elite aerobatic team and are always part of any 'fly overs' where Royalty is concerned.

'You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky.' Amelia Earhart

'We return home, after these experiments, with the conviction that sailing flight was not the exclusive prerogative of birds.' Otto Lilienthal, 1874

'It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky. Behind me and before is God and I have no fear.' Hellen Keller, aged 74 in 1955

for further contributors please visit Smiling Sally at Blue Monday

Sunday, 28 December 2008

A meme from Cherdecor

I saw this meme whilst visiting a new friends Cheryl's blog and thought I'd have a go too.

1. Of all the things currently inside your fridge, what is the thing you like best?
let me just go and have a peek :) OK will someone please remove the cheese before I finish the lot? I love all the mouldy looking cheeses Stilton & Danish Blue.

2. Pick a quote, any quote, and share it here. It may or may not be appropriate to the season.
If you see someone without a smile - give them one of yours.

3. Of all the weather you've experienced in the last 7 days, what was you favourite moment?
the weather has not been too bad really - we've had some cold frosty moments but my highlight was sitting outside in the sun the other morning having my 1st cuppa of the day.

4. Regardless of what you celebrate, or when, or why, what was your favourite gift that you received recently?
my kitten (Karmen) from my husband (Nigel)

5. If you have pets, do they behave differently when you are home more than usual (ie, days off as opposed to when you are at work most of the time)?
just recently got a Kitten who, when I'm working from my office at home, loves to sit on my shoulder and fall asleep

6. Post one favourite photo you've taken this year and tell why you like it.

This photo was taken in July of this year. My father turned 70 and we had a family gathering at my house. This photo was taken in the garden when the grandchildren along with their grandfather were letting off party poppers. I love this photo because it shows my father with his youngest grandchild, Bethany aged 5, and his oldest grandchild, Karl aged 21.

7. Have you made any new friends this year?
I've been privilege to have made a lot of new friends whilst blogging this year. One blogger, John and his wife, stayed with us in August and another blogger, Ali, I spoke to on the phone yesterday for the 1st time.

8. Have you read more books this year than last? No, I haven't - this year I started my degree so have been browsing books rather than reading them for assignments; however, my son bought me a book for Christmas which I intend to start this evening.

9. How many 2009 calendars do you have? I received three for Christmas!!! One from the Creekmouth Preservation Society a group I belong to that is endeavouring to preserve the memories of a village in Barking which was destroyed by a flood in 1953 - one from my mother with family photos for each month and devotional one from a friend at church.

10. Did you learn or try anything new this year (a skill, a hobby, a food, anything)?
Yes, I started blogging this year!!!

Now you have ago....

Mummy's little boy

Karl on a walking holiday with his dad (October 2008)

Karmen decided the best place to rest was on Karl's shoulders
photo taken last night..
Having complained that there was nothing about you on my blog - here dear I've posted three photos!! are you happy now? love Mumxx

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Spiritual Sunday

'Written in Red' is one of my favourite songs and although the video I have plucked from YouTube is also entitled 'Easter Meditation' - it is a message for us everyday and a message to share with others.

'The love we give away is the only love we keep' Elbert Hubbard

'Why love if losing hurts so much? We love to know that we are not alone' CS Lewis

'You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in the spirit of love' Henry Drummond

visit Spiritual Sunday for other contributors

Thursday, 25 December 2008

A blogger who cared

Last week I blogged about two lovely ladies called Doris and May who at the ages of 93 and 90 had to move from one home to another and the turmoil that it has caused them both. One blogger read the post and asked if she could send them presents for Christmas. I gave her my address and yesterday morning I collected her parcel from the Post Office and today I had the great pleasure of delivering her gifts in person to Doris and May.

May and Doris with their gifts

I explained to Doris and May (as best I could) that a blogger friend, who I have never met in the flesh but have only corresponded via our blogs, had sent gifts as well as Christmas cards from her children to them both - Doris burst into tears. Through her tears she responded 'I can't believe that this dear lady, who doesn't even know us, and gone the extra mile this Christmas time and thought of us'

Doris examining her gift

One of the gifts was a hand knitted lion from a rural community group in Kenya. The lion came with a card, which I read out to them both - it told of the group and how the ladies knitted these lions to raise money for themselves and their family. The card attached to each lion also gave the name of the lady who had knitted it. Doris' lion was knitted by a lady called Esther - her response was 'A lady I don't know in Kenya has knitted this lion to help her family and another lady that I don't know has made it possible to reach me today - I shall pray for them both'.

So thank you my blogging friend for bringing some Christmas cheer to Doris and May.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Happy Christmas

I would like to wish all my blogging friends a Happy Christmas. The photo was taken in 2006 and is of some of the youngsters at The Barking Salvation Army performing the nativity.


Advent Prayer

I read this prayer on the Advent website, which you can go to by clicking on the wreath in the sidebar, and was particularly drawn to the last two lines as it quotes the title of my blog.

Oh, King of us all.

I find myself standing before your strength and splendor watching, waiting and filled with total joy.
You have lifted my mind in hope.
Now help me to open my life to the coming of the Spirit.

I want to be like Mary, your mother.
Her wonderful courage and strength - inspire me to do the same.
She simply said Yes and the impossible was done.

Thank you for this Advent journey.
The anticipation has filled my life and made me long for a closer relationship with you.
My life gets so busy that I forget to focus.
Thank you for guidance.
Thank you for the quiet moments when I have felt your love.
Nothing will be impossible with God.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Lowestoft Beach - Feburary 2008

visit Wordless Wednesday for other participants.

My World Tuesday - The Eye

Nigel phoned me on his way home last night and said 'Do you fancy popping into London for a ride on The Eye' - well you don't have to ask me twice the answer, of course, was 'YES'. We got there for 9pm and guess what? The London Eye closed at 8.30pm!! Never mind we had a leisurely stroll along the river and then ended up at Waterloo Station for a McDonald's - such is my life and my world!!

These photos were taken on my mobile so are not the clearest but still give an idea of my neck of the woods.
The trees are all lit up on the avenue walking towards The Eye.

The London Eye at 9pm in the evening. I couldn't believe the amount of photographers there were about with their 'professional' equipment but then again it was a beautiful evening and The Eye is a fantastic piece of work.

Opposite The Eye on the side of the River Thames stands the Houses of Parliament or the clock more commonly known as Big Ben.

visit other people in their locations at That's my World

Monday, 22 December 2008

Blue Monday

For three years 1998-2001, My husband and I lived and worked in Ghana. I use to love, whilst out driving, seeing along the roadside displays of pottery that had been put out to attract customers. It was at the roadside that I purchased my blue pottery lamp and wicker lampshade, which a few later survived the trip back to the UK.
just arrived this morning a Christmas card from my friend Karen and her family of my favourite Cathedral - Canterbury. A clear, crisp, blue sky on a winter's day.
for other facinating 'blue' blogs visit smiling sally

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Spiritual Sunday

Our Family service at Christ Church consists of families from many different ethnic backgrounds which brings to our small fellowship a rich deepening and respect for each others beliefs and traditions. Every Sunday we all leave having learnt something new about each other and this morning was certainly no exception.

We discussed the ritual of putting up decorations and the giving of presents. One family shared that their Christmas tree is up but the lights are not switched on until Christmas Day say as to announce the arrival of baby Jesus - the Light coming into the world. Another family open their presents on the day of Epiphany - the day traditionally the Three Kings brought their gifts to Jesus. We all agreed; however, that amongst the different culture, traditions our response to Jesus was the same and we sung it in the last verse of the carol 'In the Bleak mid-winter'

What can I give Him poor as I am
If I were a shepherd I would bring a lamb
If I were a wise man I would do my part
What can I give Him - give Him my heart.

Happy Christmas to you.

Read other Sunday thoughts at Spiritual Sunday.

Saturday, 20 December 2008

Scenic Sunday

The Thames Barrier Park (London) is just 20 minutes drive from our house and, sometimes, when we have a free hour or so Nigel & I will drive over and wander around the park, enjoy a cuppa and look out over the River Thames then return home feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and relaxed.

A sailing boat passes through The Thames Barrier

A part of The Thames Barrier Park with the Thames Barrier in the distance.

London Holds My Heart

I'd kill to see the lights of London
Out of the windows of my room
Or to gaze upon the streets of Cairo
And farther out all of the pharaohs' tombs
I'd love to see the Eiffel Tower
And the Louvre's pieces of art
But there is only one city I could stay in
For only London holds my heart
To gaze across Scottish meadows
And bask in the light of an Irish moon
To hear the street musicians of RomeDoling out their classic tunes
I want to fall asleep at sunset In the snug bed of an Israel inn
And sip the finest of Greek wines
And lay with Arabian silks caressing my skin
How it would be to walk the deserts of Mecca
Or bathe in the Nile river for a few nights
To wander the vast jungles of Africa
And see the exotic birds take flight
What I wouldn't give to run up the stairs of old cathedrals
In ancient cities made up of ancient art
Though there is only one city
I can ever belong toLondon Holds My Heart
Tatianna Rei Moonshadow

For more beautiful scenic views please visit Scenic Sunday

Friday, 19 December 2008

Pink Saturday

These Boots were made for walking...

"Walking takes longer..than any known form of locomotion except crawling. Thus it stretches time and prolongs life. Life is already too short to waste on speed." Edward Abbey 'Walking'

They are not glamours or delicate nor particularly feminine but they are comfortable and pink!!

When Nigel & I enjoy a day out in London by travelling on the tube (underground trains) the buses and walking, particularly, down the embankment alongside the River Thames - then for such adventures sturdy footwear is essential, hence my pink boots.

On one of our walks during the summer in the area of St. Katherines Dock, which is next to Tower Bridge, we came across a pond covered in these beautiful pink water lilies. Sometimes it is the unexpected that brings much pleasure and these lilies created an oasis in a very busy city.

Please visit Pink Saturday for other contributors

8 things

My blogging companion Ali tagged me for this and I learnt how sad my life is!! I hardly watch TV and go to the same restaurant down the road!! anyway here goes...

8 TV Shows I watch.
2. Strictly come Dancing
3. Through the Keyhole
4. Midsomer Murders
5. Frost
6. Songs of Praise
7. Who do you think you are?
8. Any nature programme

8 Favourite Restaurants
1. La Scala
2. The Greyhound Harvester
3. Hungry Horse
4. The Dick Turpin
5. Cosmos
6. The Dickens
7. The Tower Hotel
8. Anywhere with friends

8 Things that happened to me today
1. was made a cuppa of tea by one of 93 year olds
2. woke up at 6am and couldn't get back to sleep again
3. surprised visit by Revd David Pearson
4. learnt the postman's name 'Wayne'
5. a friend offered to take me to an auction
6. received a touching 'thank you' card
7. received a Christmas present from an unexpected person
8. got a lovely hug from a friend

8 Things that I look forward to
1. Finishing my degree
2. Holiday with Nigel in January
3. Attending the 'Ceremony of Keys' Tower of London
4. Rotary Trip to Ham Mark, Germany
5. Rotary fellowship weekend
6. Meal with friends then a ride on The Eye
7. Trip to South Africa in 2010
8. Trip to Bangladesh 2009 with our Bengali neighbours

8 Things I wish for
1. Happiness and Health for my family and friends
2. Unity and peace amongst all people
3. Dad's op goes OK
4. Visit Auschwitz
5. Good nights sleep!!
6. cure/knowledge for Alzheimers
7. To see the Mousetrap play in London
8. that our own 'mice' guests have left!!

8 People I Tag
1. Janet
2. Dawn
3. Valerie
4. Liz
5. John
6. Dan
7. Alex
8. Sarah

Doris and May

May and Doris in Doris's room

This morning I visited Doris (93) and May (90) to see how they were settling into their new accommodation. Their previous home Cloud House, where they both had lived for nearly 20 years, has closed down and the residents have been moved to various other homes within the area. At any age it is an upheaval to move homes - not just the packing but all the paper work -notifying everyone of your new address etc etc. finding a doctor, hairdresser and for Doris a place of worship.

Under EEC regulations Cloud House required to be updated as the residents rooms were not on-suite, which they both now have in their new home. Their rooms are quite large; in fact Doris's belongings looked quite lost. Doris said that everyone had been most helpful and friendly, they enjoyed the meals, entertainment was provided in the evenings and they were getting used to their new surroundings within the home and the area.

One of the major downside of the move is that their rooms overlook a driveway where as in Cloud House they overlooked the church gardens and Revd David's garden - and I would often to see them sitting at their windows watching the children from the playgroup play in the garden and they loved watching the birds and squirrels at the feeders in David's garden. I would go out into the garden and wave to them make a sign for a cuppa and then pop over.

As I left them I felt that they had put on a brave face for my benefit and, in reality, they were finding it difficult to settle in. As always I shall visit them on Christmas Day and aim to keep a close eye on them both.

I would ask, even though you don't know them, that after you have finished reading this that you will say a prayer for Doris and May.

Gracious God, hear my prayer for all those who are elderly, both in this community and throughout the land. May none feel unwanted or useless, or that they no longer have a contribution to make to our common life. May your peace rest upon those who suffer poor health and declining mobility; grant that they might each rest secure in your comforting presence. Be with those who still retain good health and vigour, that they might find the proper channels for their energies. And be especially with those who have lost the companionship of the one who has been with them throughout much of their lives, and who consequently feel great loneliness and grief, that their grief might be healed and their loneliness transcended through the comfort and peace which you alone can give; for your love's sake, hear my prayer. Amen.

prayer taken from the Falkland and Freuchie Parish Churches

Hopeful Friday

This is my first Hopeful Friday post and I would like to tell you about The 4th Barking Brownies who came last evening to visit the residents of Thames View Lodge (Sheltered Housing Accommodation). The Brownies, ages 7-11, have visited before and because they were so friendly and took the time to chat to each resident I welcomed them with open arms when , Mary - Brown Owl, asked if they could come again.

They sang carols and encouraged the residents to join in with them.

Ruth, Daisy and Eva showing their gifts

The Brownies presented each resident with a gift which consisted of a Christmas decoration and card, which they had made themselves and a bar of chocolate - all beautiful wrapped up and tied with ribbons.

Rose, Tom and Doris with some of the Brownies

Then afterwards the Brownies spent time chatting with the residents. They had obviously spent time beforehand preparing their questions 'What did you get when you were my age for Christmas?' 'Did it snow on Christmas day when you were little?' 'What was your favourite toy?' They sat very patiently as residents shared their Christmas memories with them.

The highlight for me was one 8 yr old Brownie who came rushing over to her mother, who I was talking to at the time, and said "Mummy, mummy you must come and meet my new friend - her name is Rose."

Every generation has something to offer but sometimes we forget that the old and the young can mix together and learn from each other.

Especially for the evening - one of my ladies from Christ Church, Barbara, made this beautiful cake.

I came across this prayer which is a 'Christmas Prayer'

Loving Father,
Help us remember the birth of Jesus,
that we may share in the song of the angels,
the gladness of the shepherds,
and worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and open the door of love all over the world.
Let kindness come with every giftand good desires with every greeting.
Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,
and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.
May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,
and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,
forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Thursday Challenge

Our theme this week for Thursday Challenge is 'LIGHT' - for other participants please visit Thursday Challenge

As a minister I lead 'church' services in a variety of different places - peoples homes, nursing homes, sheltered dwellings to name a few and I take my 'hands' and a t-light candle with me. When leading a time of prayer I light the candle and somehow the soft glow within the hands reassures those to whom I ministering of God's presence with them - holding each one of them in the palm of his hands.

O Light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine's blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.
George Matheson

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Wordless Wednesday

Nativity set from Ghana. Wordless Wednesday

Ruby Tuesday

Please visit Work of the Poet for other Ruby Tuesday participants.

Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without these Three Kings/Wise men. They have always been part of our family Christmas decorations for as long as I can remember - my mother knew how much I loved them so gave them to me as a gift a few years ago. My mother and I worked out last night that they must be at least 45 years old and they are still going strong!!! They are rather faded but amongst all the other glittering and sparkling decoration they still remain my favourites.

Christmas Gift Suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect."
Oren Arnold

Monday, 15 December 2008

school concert and parents visit

This afternoon I attended the 2nd School Concert at Thames View Infants - bless them they were brilliant - will be back again tomorrow morning for the 3rd performance. I was invited to attend in my role as school Chaplain. Having visited the classrooms over the last week or so and seen the practices taking place it was delightful to see it actually happening on the day.

Fascinating to watch those who think they are on XFactor and try and steal the limelight away from the rest of class. One reception class had plastic circles on the floor on which they stood to perform their song - one little girl, who definitely thought she was Beyonce, picked up her circle and nudged her way forward until she was on the front row!! and then gave it her all :)

I left after the Seagulls Nursery performed the Nativity scene as my parents were coming to visit. Tomorrow, though, I shall be able to stay to end and chat with teachers and parents.

Karl with my Mum and Dad (photo taken this evening). My parents are retired but seem to more busy now then when they were working and it's difficult to pin them down to pop over to see us for a meal; however, they came late this afternoon and we exchanged Christmas presents, gossip etc - my middle brother also dropped by straight from work and Nigel very kindly treated us all to fish n' chips.

Here endeth another day :)