The Christmas Bauble

Bauble shards glimmered in the cold light

Tinsel strewn in ancient ritual

And only an hour before they all arrive

Mary sat amongst the broken glass

Her arm skewed in a ragdoll way

The rainbow of colour danced across her face

In a cruel waltz that reflected her life

Jamie stood in the doorway

Smirking down at the mess

And his wife broken before him.


The family arrived into a tidy, clean house

Mary’s arm strapped up for now

Even the gravy did not belie

The undertones of the house that day

They chatted and gossiped about sundry and all

Jamie was mine host extraordinaire

Mary the cook, barely sat down

When it was time for the contingent to leave

The tree looked elegant sans baubles this day

As everyone ignored the nuance and tone.


Please think of those not having a “Happy Christmas” this year


granny’s garden


the dying daffodils reminded me

of a long ago tended garden.

Each flower had a place

Reds on the left and yellow to the right


Granny pulled their heads off

and stomped on each stalk

frenetically each day she roamed

the rows of yellow daffodils


grandad could kill nothing,

not even a slug so he slunk

behind and gathered the leaves

tying them all together

with ribbons of concern

weeping as the willow by the pond.


I used to think granny hated

like hated every thing

but I think she was broken hearted

for the man she knew before


Grandad’s heart was aching

for all the men he’d known

who laid down their lives

in the war to end all wars


Granny played a lot of things

taking the role of winner

She hated the name granny

Preferring formal Grandmama


But I loved this statue of

ice cold tendrils

I was never scared like the others

She brought fear to every one

But I heard her pray once

For me and R and J

And for the two H’s in her life.


Two broken hearted people

Living in a box

Unable to talk or even to listen

Forever bound in silence

On reflection of the pond’s surface

Of a childhood long ago

The only way they could converse

Was having red on the left

And dying daffs on the right.

omelette face

eggs crashing on the supermarket floor

face smashing into the bathroom door

Will it ever end?

toddler screaming for one more bar

girl shrieking – the loss of more hair

Will it ever end?

the shelves full of hopes and promises

the lies and deceit of joyful fists

Will it ever end?

fresh meat pertly pink in cellophane wrap

new bruises – spectrum exploded on facial map

Will it ever end?

row upon row of parting with money

line upon line of smarting agony

Will it ever end?

One day will I rise up

and say – enough, no more

Will I glide along shelves pouring rubbish in my trolley.

One day I will rise up

and say – enough, no more

Will I be punched and kicked and torn limb from limb.


The hushed tones behind the fluttering curtain

The eye tries to wake

The limbs try to move

The mind tries to grasp

as the green sheath cocoons

the broken body


the news reported an arson attack

on the giant of surpermarketing

a girl was in hospital, no other injuries


the man came, full  of charming patter

that did not pass the chaplain’s muster

in the middle of the night

Salesian Agnes took the girl

And wrapped her in blankets and quilts.


the arson attack caused little damage

setting fire to oneself causes different scars

to hide the ones made by prince charming

Agnes soothed the brow

She ladled soup

and the girl, me,  slowly walked… away

Reflection from the bottom of a cup

Resting in God-

In bible study tonight I posed the question, “How do we slice of the ears of those around us?” Taken out of context this might seem a really odd question, but within the group, not only did it make sense to me to ask, but the participants all had an opinion…

They knew how we do it, how we in churches all over this country do it, perhaps even the world.

The following question drew sharp intakes of breath, as we pondered and reflected on how beautiful it could be if we made a conscious, prayerful decision to put our swords down and stop it.

Tonight as I stared into my cup, this fragile little cup that I used to drink specially made tea that my mother prepared for me. I thought about the indwelling of God in me. How lovely is his dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts to me.

But is the dwelling house lovely if it is my heart? What in my heart needs to change to make it lovely? What areas of my life still need some repair work, or demolition work?

My heart is not a Disney model of a heart, it has been broken many times, it has endured all kinds of assault. This week is such a poignant memorial of a year that never was. The months of back breaking wound care, the hours of weeping when no one else was around. I was inflicting pain on my child, and yes it was to make him better, yes it had to be done, but I was not strong enough to inflict without being concerned that this would never end. The year that was lost, that we mourned for the whole of September last year, will never return. But the year that came in its place was so much better.

I learned many things, one that I was skilled in being a mother of children with disabilities but I had no skills in being a mother of a sick child. I could not have done the things that had to be done without prayer, without the presence of God in my every movement, in every dab of hydrogen peroxide and vials of betadine. As I passed tissues to wipe the eyes of the contorted body, I returned to inflict searing pain. I argued with God throughout, I had people telling me this was sent to test me. ME! My child lying in agony was all about me. I don’t think so. And I didn’t want to follow a god that would do that. Others said it was the devil’s work to stop me in exploring my call. ME! Let the devil win, rather than inflict any more pain.

But it was neither of these things. It was a condition, part of the syndrome, nothing to do with me. The test was finding the time in all the dressings and baths to spend time alone with God.

Some days I barely managed it, others were filled with space, to explore and experience the living God. At some point in the year, a vacation was taken, it felt like God had left his dwelling place within me, I was bereft, set adrift with no anchor. But God had not left me, and I learned to turn the dial and retune as we sang a different duet together.

In the small hours of the morning when there is no sound in the house and I become aware of my breathing in and out, my pulse racing and then slowing down, racing then slowing down. As each heart beat gets slower reaching down past 50bpm, that is when I am most aware of His presence. As sleep is about to overcome me, and I experience the cossetting of a Loving Father, the embrace of a friend, and the caress of the comforter. My cup runneth over with joy.

Psalm 84

How lovely is your dwelling-place,
    Lord Almighty!
My soul yearns, even faints,
    for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
    for the living God.
Even the sparrow has found a home,
    and the swallow a nest for herself,
    where she may have her young –
a place near your altar,
    Lord Almighty, my King and my God.
Blessed are those who dwell in your house;
    they are ever praising you.

Blessed are those whose strength is in you,
    whose hearts are set on pilgrimage.
As they pass through the Valley of Baka,
    they make it a place of springs;
    the autumn rains also cover it with pools.
They go from strength to strength,
    till each appears before God in Zion.

Hear my prayer, Lord God Almighty;
    listen to me, God of Jacob.
Look on our shield, O God;
    look with favour on your anointed one.

10 Better is one day in your courts
    than a thousand elsewhere;
I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God
    than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
11 For the Lord God is a sun and shield;
    the Lord bestows favour and honour;
no good thing does he withhold
    from those whose way of life is blameless.

12 Lord Almighty,
    blessed is the one who trusts in you.

A funny thing happened on the way to …

Original Cinema Quad Poster – Movie Film Posters

It is no secret I like old black & white movies, English kitchen sink movies, Ealing comedies and all the rest, but…

I could never bring myself to watch Carry on films or films of that ilk.

Original Cinema Quad Poster - Movie Film Posters


This is not a confession piece that I am now an avid Carry On watcher. But I have begun to reflect and what it is in those movies that I find unpalatable and yet Hot Fuzz I could watch every day for a year.


I was reminded again yesterday of “A Taste of Honey” and that inevitably got me to the The Lonliness of the Long Distance Runner.”

23t11g7          loneliness of the

There is something in both those movies that is seen in people today; ‘there’s no point,’ ‘why bother,’

Because if we don’t bother, if we don’t care, then who will. I am struggling my way through BBC3’s documentaries this week. They are so hard to watch, I am having more nightmares than usual, but, I remember the nightmares I had after watching the above two films:

People with dead eyes or no eyes having a complete “Clockwork Orange” frenzy – just because they can. A lawlessness in every aspect of their lives. I am going to Ealing Comedy myself out of these nightmares with “Passport to Pimlico” on top of the list.Unknown-2

For any house owner who wants nightmares, may I suggest a foray into the mind of Grahame Greene and his short story turned into a drama, “The Destructors.”


Having said all that, there is hope for humanity, dead eyes, vacant eyes, pedestrian living can be transformed into real living. All a person has to do is turn to the Lord and He will take care of the rest.

A funny thing did happen on the way to the film forum, this week, I looked at my daily verse:

I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws.

Psalm 119:30 NIVUK

I have hope, because I have made that choice. I stand firm in my faith of the risen King and because of that – vacant eyes have become engaged.

Praise the Lord!

workshop rambling

I can’t fault you, you know your Bible well. Sure you quote it to me when you tell me I’m wrong, when you tell me I’m defective. I know my Bible too, I just don’t make it into an arrow and quote it back at you, mate, I live it.

So as you rebuke me, I love you, as you correct me, I love you, as you kicked me out your sacred building, I still loved and love you.

All scripture is God breathed, I agree my friend, but not because you say so and not just the bits you find palatable, and believe it or not I am accepted, not by you obviously but by the true and living God.

I do love you, there is no bitterness or smarting in my words, I love you, my friend, I do.

This is part of a monologue that was presented at a Local Preacher seminar earlier this year. It’s voice is left to the imagination, maybe it is yours. As I wrote it out today I was thinking of Helen Blogs and how church can hurt people.

Jesus came and died so we all could have a personal relationship with the loving Father, so we could bring all our guilt & shame & sin, everything that we have done & everything that has been done to us and can bring it to the Cross and we can lay it down and we can repent of our straying ways and we can accept the beautiful forgiveness that is offered for free. Jesus didn’t come so some people can feel so excluded – look at who he hung around with, look at who he conversed with, look at who he loved.

We are invited to come, we are invited – not just a blanket junk mail invitation…


a very personal invitation, handcarved/handwritten with our very own names etched in the invite.

So how can we be so exclusive that some people are not only uncomfortable with our comfortableness but we hang necklaces of ‘not welcome’ around their necks. We give them letters of unwelcome. We hide our secret bits in suits of respectability.

If we are following Jesus then maybe we should take a leaf out of his address book and not just visit but sit in uncomfortable places so his gospel can be shared with our words and with our actions…


most of all with our love.

After all – John 3:16 -18

 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 

In response~~~Day 6

There is an interconnectedness of all the study I do today. For the past week I have been doing four different studies that has a common thread i.e. Christian and three of them had a further common thread of Lent but until today they were distinct and separate, the angle or POV was different and until today took separate energies.

So could I not write one piece and be done with it?

No, I think the importance of today is not about saving time, it is about going deeper into the spiritual discipline of fasting {safely}. I haven’t tested myself since ‘the time’ and maybe I have shied away from the test in case the natural me takes over again.

There is compelling evidence that a one day fast every week helps us in our obedience and our prayer life and I know that fasting for an extended time does bring the experiential manifestation of the Spirit ever so close. So it is not like I am deliberately turning away from that experience, it is to keep self pride and self sufficiency at bay that I have to couch a fast in rules specifically for me. To keep concupiscence from the door of my heart and to keep pride effaced from my mind.

At Lent we hear of people giving something up and there are those who will have a full fast, but the balance of why we do what we do has to be thoroughly thought out, what are our motives behind the fast. A church recently announced a fast and a member jumped at the opportunity not for a closer walk with God but to fit into size 10 jeans. Our motives are everything.

The call placed on our lives explicitly and implicitly tells us of aiming toward Christlikeness, and so the argument of a 40 day fast has to be raised. But look at Jesus and look at ourselves. He was perfect so it took an extreme situation for him to be tested by the temptations of Satan that we could see there was very real temptation and a very real choice made. Think about it – if we has read that Jesus fasted for one day and the devil popped up and started tempting him with bread, knowing he was perfect, we would say that’s no test. But 40 days is extreme even for the perfect one and so we see in that passage of scripture Jesus enduring hardship, doing without sustenance for forty days and nights and then not succumbing to the devil, but being victorious in the spiritual battle.

For us a day is hard enough to bear, in this world of instant gratification, with food stalls at every junction and petrol station. I fasted for just short of six weeks four years ago. People on the outside thought I was doing it to lose weight as I did lose some, but I was in the battle. I physically could not take food, the feel of solids in my mouth was abhorrent, I felt sick all the time and I did try to eat, but it all fell to nothing. Knowing my health could suffer from a prolonged food fast, I drank milk and soup as much as I could bear but solid food turned my stomach. People tried to help by suggesting I ate something I really ordinarily would crave but it didn’t work and made some interesting bathroom visits.

Then one day I got healed from a long term habit, I was in Dublin, and the next meal time I tucked into a slice of pizza, I couldn’t finish it because I was full. But I knew the time of fasting was over. It took time to remember how to eat and when but over the next few months I relearned, with the one rule – I must eat at least once a day. At first the rule was I must eat by six o’clock but as time went by and I trusted myself more it can be nine or ten at night but the rule remains steadfast.

So today I am being encouraged to fast, over the last few days I initially baulked at the idea, thinking myself not strong enough to withstand the temptation of a longer fast. Yesterday I wrote of my intention to join the fast but with the proviso of the rule.

The scripture reading today takes us to Jesus answering some people about fasting (Mark 2:18-22) and he does it by talking about the old and new. He is the fulfilment of the Law, he has come so we can experience life with him. As we move to become more and more like Jesus, as he becomes more at home in our lives and we become more at home in him, then we learn to let go of those hindrances to that closer walk. So I am stepping out in the steadfast faith he has given me and I am embracing the concept of fasting for a time for that deeper walk, deeper prayer life and deeper discipline.

Jesus can reprogram our story about ourselves, not just an intellectual assertion or renewing of our mind but allowing Jesus into our lives in a practical every day way, and with other believers that help us be honed all with the help of the Holy Spirit.