Tuesday, 28 December 2010

You have done it for ME!


It’s the time of the year when Charities do their big TV advertising push to get people to sign up for monthly contributions to their causes. Today I saw an advert for Wateraid: 4,000 children die every day from drinking dirty water and for £2 a month per person that could change. How can such a small donation make such a big difference?

Just recently I have been asking God about what I should be doing for him. I get very frustrated. There seems so much to do, so many lives to be touched and changed just in the small piece of North Finchley that I live in. My heart breaks for the lost, the lonely, the broken hearted, the sick, the small people, in fact everyone – but I can’t do it all on my own. I can see many things that could be done to help, but I can’t do it on my own and it seems harder these days to motivate others to join in. I need God’s guidance on what he wants me to concentrate on.

Then I was recently introduced to a woman called ‘Veronica’. On Jesus final walk, carrying his cross along the Via Dolorosa, he fell and she pushed through the gathered crowd to wipe his face clean from the dust of his fall and the sweat and blood of his pain. She couldn’t do anymore than that. The situation was huge, and being controlled by a great force, the Roman Army. But she did what she could. She saw her opportunity and took it. Making Jesus feel better in that moment, showing she cared.

Jesus says to his disciples in Matthew 25:40 ‘whenever you do something for someone who is overlooked or ignored, it’s me, you are doing it to me!’. It doesn’t matter if it is a big bold act, like donating thousands of pounds to charity or a small thing like clearing the snow from the pavement in front of your neighbours’ house, cooking a meal for a sick friend or saying thank you to the lady on the checkout in Tesco. It’s the results of your actions that are important.

Random acts of kindness need not cost you monetarily, you could spare half an hour for a cup of tea with an elderly neighbour, baby sit for a single parent or tutor a child who needs some extra help with their school work (for no remuneration). If you are the kind of person who needs to be more organised then planned giving to a charity may be easier for you, £2 per person, per month, can make a huge difference if lots of people give.

If everyone did one little thing each day to improve the day of someone else what an amazing world we would live in! The most significant changes in the world have been the result NOT of committees, nations, governments, or armies, but of individuals. Individuals like Jesus Christ, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, the list can go on indefinitely. What about adding your name to that list?

Matthew 25:40 (The Message)
"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

God so loved the world that He gave!


Being aware that I hadn’t written a thought this week, because I have been rushed off my feet with all the Christmas events we had this weekend at St Bs, today I was trawling the internet for a simple poem for you to read or song to listen to when I came across this. Reading it made me really check my attitude, I was that woman trailing around ASDA today thinking this is all so ridiculous for one day, so much food, so much fuss, Bah humbug!!!.

This is what I read:

“A woman was Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable; and after hours of hearing both children asking for everything they saw, she finally made it to the elevator with her two kids.

She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday time of the year – overwhelming pressure to go to every party, taste all the holiday food, get that perfect gift for every person on our shopping list, make sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, and so on.
The elevator was very crowded as she pushed her way in, dragging her two kids and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and said, “Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be strung up and shot.”

From the back of the elevator a quiet, calm voice respond, “Don’t worry, we already crucified Him.”

For the rest of the elevator ride, it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.”

Hmmmm!

This year, don’t forget to keep “the One who started this whole Christmas thing” in your every thought, deed, purchase and words. Take time to remember and thank Him for all His blessings. This year you get to celebrate one more wonderful Christmas with your family and friends, when some of your family and friends, with whom you celebrated Christmas last year, aren’t around to celebrate this one. Praise Him. Thank Him and count your blessings before getting mad at whatever Christmas demands from You.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son; that whosoever believed in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The best laid plans of mice and men......


I like to do lists, plans and being punctual. I have to admit that normally I don’t commit my diary to God each week, but this time last week as I looked at what I was doing this week I had to say “Lord, you are the only person who can make that work and get me through it!”.

Added into our normal family diary for the week was Molly starting two weeks of mock GCSEs, there were two evening performances of the EBS school Christmas production, three nativity plays, my speaking at the Alpha Course at St Bs on Tuesday night and then Steve informed me he was out every night apart from Wednesday, the night we were watching the school production.

Team Dryden, not wanting to be beaten by this, sat down on Sunday night and meticulously planned every move, each of us knowing where, when and how this was all going to happen – car pick up and drop offs, meals planned etc. Feeling a great sense of achievement we launched into the week, the spanner in the works turned up Monday evening.

Molly got flu, had a really high temperature all through Monday night, therefore she got no sleep and I got no sleep. Heavily drugged up she was shipped off to school to complete her art exam Tuesday morning. Heavily drugged up she performed in the Tuesday school production. Heavily drugged up she went in for her next exam. Heavily drugged up she performed in the Wednesday school production. Thursday we gave up, heavily drugged up she stayed in bed. I took the approach that the exams were mocks and not the real thing therefore she could miss one! (I had had enough by then and cancelled my day too and stayed home with her).

The great bard Robert Burns said "The best-laid plans of mice and men, often go awry" and how true that is. Who are we to presume that we can plan each day perfectly for ourselves, when we live in a world that is so damaged and broken, so full of illness, sadness and unpredictability. We survived this week, exhausted but joyous. I am so thankful that I did think, at the beginning, to commit our week to God. He was gracious and saw us through it – it didn’t look one little bit like we had planned – in fact looking back now it looked sooooo much better!

Commit your actions to the Lord, and your plans will succeed.
Proverbs 16:3 (New Living Translation)

because...............

We humans keep brainstorming options and plans, but God's purpose prevails.
Proverbs 19:21 (The Message)

and..................

But the Lord’s plans stand firm forever; his intentions can never be shaken.
Psalm 33:11 (New Living Translation)

May God bless all your plans for the coming festive season x x x x x x x

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Never go to sleep on an argument!


Always kiss your children goodnight, even if they are already asleep.

My girls, at 13 and 15, still insist that I tuck them into bed each night and I can’t think of a more immense pleasure. Despite what the day has held, how many times I have heard “I hate you” or “it’s not fair” it’s a chance to put everything right.

There is something so beautiful and innocent in the sight of a child in their bed, snuggled up under the duvet, smelling sweetly. I bury my nose into their hair, enjoying the aroma of child, feeling their hair tickling my face – and in that moment all the days ups and downs evaporate as waves of love flood over me. I am instantly transported back to when they were new born babies, sleeping in the moses basket next to my bed. I would lie on my bed for ages just watching their little chests going up and down, listening to their snuffling and marvelling at just how perfect they were. Now, 13 and 15 years on I still do the same thing – and I admit it pleases me as much as it does them.

It’s a chance for me to pray with and for them, for apologies to be made on both sides, for a debrief of the day and for lots of love to be shared. It says in the Bible “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Ephesians 4:26-27 (NLT). Never go to sleep on an argument is normally seen in marriage guidance books, but I believe this applies to your kids also. Make bedtimes special, resist dragging out the woes of the day – give them all to God and then enjoy the precious bundle of joy He has gifted you with.

Make peace, tomorrow is another day.

Goodnight, God bless, sweet dreams x x x

Friday, 26 November 2010

There is always a new dawn!


God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next. Amen.

Reinhold Niebuhr

It’s been a tricky week for so many of you, but in amongst the sad, unexplainable and darn right unfair I have also heard amazing stories of answered prayers, bodies healed and life restored. In John 16:33 Jesus says “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

There are no simple explanations for most of the stuff that happens in our lives, we live in a broken world, and if we tried to rationalise everything that did happen we would end up living a world of ‘could have beens’ rather than living in the now, thus letting the enemy steal all of our joy.

Keep life simple, cast all your cares on God, all your worries, all your concerns. Let him hold you and in the safety of that place dare to look out and count your blessings. If it is dark today, there is always a new dawn in the morning!

Praying for you all x x x x x x


Saturday, 20 November 2010

NO!


Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it. Proverbs 22:6 (Today's New International Version)

There are times when you have to say NO to your child and that is perfectly ok. As they grow and learn about themselves they need to know the guidelines for their behaviour and look to you for direction. You have to set the limits for them: you can’t jump on the furniture, no more television today, you must put your seat belt on in the car, you must hold my hand when we cross the street.

A nurturing parent says NO in a clear, honest way, finding the right time and making sure not to embarrass their child. It is best , however, to avoid the temptation to justify your NO by lecturing on why you are saying NO. I fell foul of this the other day when I said NO to Molly, and then ranted on for ten minutes about why I thought she shouldn’t be allowed to do something. At the end of my tirade she then said “I hear you are saying NO Mum, but your lecturing is not going to make me like your decision!” I then realised that often justifying my NO opened the door for more conversation and needless arguing. I was then reminded that Jesus said, in Matthew 5:37, ‘all you need to say is simply yes, or no!

To be able to say NO appropriately you have to be honest with your child, following the same guidelines yourself that you set for them. If you don’t want them to swear, then don’t swear yourself; if you don’t want them to smoke, then don’t smoke yourself; if you don’t want your child to shout at you, then don’t shout at them. Only then can your child follow your example.
Use your NO as a tool for teaching and guiding. Avoid being overly permissive, allowing your child to do whatever they please. When your child is misbehaving, they need your help to get themselves under control. Strive for agreeable limits and creative solutions for each child. You are not being mean when you discipline this way – you are doing yourself, and them, a service. The goal of discipline is self discipline. Children thrive on knowing their boundaries, feel security from them and through them learning how to guide themselves – a strength they can then take into adulthood.

Lord Jesus, thank you for our children. Please help us to discipline them with love, give us the courage of our convictions to stick to our NO when we say it. Thank you for setting us the best example, you are slow to anger and rich in love, you are gracious and compassionate – help us to be the same with our children. Amen xxx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Tis the season to be materialistic, fa la la la la!


Tis the season to be materialistic, fa la la la la!

“Mum, for Christmas I want a really good hair dryer and some GHD’s, some CDs and some clothes.” As I listen to this, making a guesstimate at the price of each of those items, I arrive at a ball park figure of £300. As much as I love my beautiful daughter she can think again!

“What’s wrong with the hair straighteners you already have and the hairdryer come to that” I ask.

“Well when you straighten your hair with ours it only lasts a couple of hours, but when I used Chloe’s GHDs the other day it lasted all day, they are really cool!” she replied.

“Yep and really expensive” I thought to myself.

The affluence of our western culture has created an epidemic of wanting what everyone else has or what the advertisers say you ‘should’ have, in order to live a fulfilled life (and have perfectly straight hair). People crave more and more, yet don’t enjoy what they already possess.

Does “more” have the ability to make us happy as the world wants us to believe? The answer is No!. In fact, the more we have, the more we have to work to get it, therefore making less time to enjoy it in the first place. We may think that more makes life easier, but in reality it just complicates it and makes us feel dissatisfied with life.

The tenth commandment tells us not to covet; we aren’t to want what others have. Paul in his letter to the Philippians says that he has learnt to be content no matter what his circumstances were.

“Actually, I don’t have a sense of needing anything personally. I’ve learned by now to be quite content whatever my circumstances. I’m just as happy with little as with much, with much as with little. I’ve found the recipe for being happy whether full or hungry, hands full or hands empty. Whatever I have, wherever I am, I can make it through anything in the One who makes me who I am." (Philippians 4:11 The Message)

There is nothing wrong with having things, but it is wrong to lust after them. When we feel we cannot be happy without something, we are lusting after it. We should develop a habit of asking God for what we want, and believe that He will give it to us if, and when, it is right. This simple approach to life sets us free to enjoy life.

So in this time of consumerism and financial troubles, enjoy this Christmas by making a decision to enjoy what you already have. Thank God for it and be content. Give each other the gift of your presence, rather than a present – enjoy family time together without the worry of the financial burden that it all brings.

I am just off to convince my daughter about this, please pray for me !!!!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

REST - it is a commandment, not a recommendation!


Rest. Something that is not too freely available to parents, especially those with young children, yet so necessary, and a biblical principle. Many of us are trying to work five days a week, raise families, be a wife, husband or partner and maintain relationships with family and friends – in essence cramming nine days into seven each week.

As I lay in my bed this morning feeling guilty that I hadn’t got up and written the thought for the week I had to sternly remind myself that I had to rest. The world wouldn’t stop turning because I hadn’t done it! Even God rested – and He tells us to rest too!

Genesis 2:1-3 (New Living Translation)
So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. 2 On the seventh day God had finished his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. 3 And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because it was the day when he rested from all his work of creation.

Exodus 34:21 (The Message)
21 "Work six days and rest the seventh.

Rest is a precious commodity for those with children of all ages – as I am beginning to find out. I smugly thought that now my children were a bit older they would sleep in, which they do. However, I now have to stay up late quite a few nights of the week in order to be mum’s taxi and pick them up from where ever they are, and then I still have to get up early to get them and myself up for school and work. Therefore losing sleep at both ends of the day – argh!

There are never enough hours in the day for busy parents, who are often working as well, but what I do know is that there should always be enough hours for rest. Without it we can experience physical symptoms such as weakness, lack of energy, tiredness, exhaustion, passing out or feeling as if you are going to pass out,
palpitations, dizziness, shortness of breath and many other things. Looking after our bodies should be our number one priority or these symptoms could lead to something worse.

God isn’t recommending we rest – it is a commandment. We have to do it in order to look after ourselves and in turn we will be healthy enough to be able to look after our families. I haven’t been feeling very well lately, partly I know because I have been totally overdoing it. So I am nagging myself here as well. Rest restores your body and your mind. God loves you and wants what is best for you, He is a good Father. So listen to your Father in Heaven and rest. Work out with your other half days when you can take it in turns to have a lie in, treat yourself to an early night (maybe with a hot bubble bath thrown in for good measure), take time out with a good book or dvd. Find some way to just chill out and relax. God says to rest for one day out of seven. That is 24 hours. It may not be possible to do that all in one day, but spread out over a week it is possible. Even more precious you could try to do it with your other half, then you will know that you are both well rested and ready to face what the world has for you.

Look after yourselves – your body is the only one you have, don’t wear it out too soon.

Matthew 11:28 (New Living Translation)
28 Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Love is spelt T-I-M-E


Love is spelt T-I-M-E. How much time do we set aside for those we love?


"To the world you might just be one person.... but to one person, YOU might just be the world."

Saturday, 23 October 2010

See you in 'Hendon'!


“When I die mummy, will I go to Hendon?” four year old Barney’s Toddler Group member to his mum!

Yesterday I was at my uncle’s funeral, he died at age 70 from cancer. I was reminded of how eight years ago I was sitting at his sister’s funeral, my mum’s, she too died from cancer at age 58. Whilst sitting there it struck me that my mum had died when she was 58, so young (even 70 is young in my mind) and now I am 13 years away from being 58 myself. My irrationality then took me off on a random thought process of “well if I am only 13 years away from being the same age as my mum when she died – oh my gosh have I only got 13 years left; and Molly is 15 now which means she is a quarter of the way there, oh my I need to encourage her to get on with her life, not waste any of it...........blah..........blah..............” It’s amazing what the enemy can taunt you with in a moment of weakness, how easy it is to be pulled into a fearful thought pattern!

I don’t want to die, but I have no fear of death, because I know it isn’t the end. Through my faith in Jesus I have this promise "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.(John 3:16). I know that there is more than this and that I will spend eternity in heaven.

We should try not to waste any of our lives. Not that we have to run around like headless chickens trying to save the universe, but we should try to live it to the full. It’s good to be mindful of the things that can steal our lives like fear, worry, stress and the more obvious things that affect the health of our bodies such as abuse of substances including food, alcohol and drugs.

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10) is Jesus promise to us, God sent his son to die for us so that we can be free from fear, worry, stress and other things that seek to steal our happiness and health from us.

We none of us know when it will be our turn to “go to Hendon!” However, “Don't fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God's wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It's wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the centre of your life.” (Philippians 4:6).

I pray that whatever is weighing you down today, whatever is stopping you from living your life to the full, you will feel able to give it to God. That you will be able to pray, grab back from the enemy the minutes of your life that he has stolen, and feel Christ pulling your life back into perspective and comforting you.

If you have never prayed before or feel you don’t know how – please don’t add that to your fears and worries! It’s easy, you just talk to God, you don’t need any fancy words, just talk to him – either out loud or in your head, just like I am talking to you now. He loves you and longs to hear from you. And remember, nothing is too big or too small to talk to Him about.

(And another thing, He already knows, He just wants to hear it from you!)

Thursday, 14 October 2010

There is nothing you could ever do that would stop me loving you


I have just watched ‘Worlds Strictest Parents’ on BBC iplayer with tears rolling down my face through the whole thing. So many children now grow into teens and young adults who fall into bad ways because open lines of communication at home aren’t in place or are for some sad reason broken down. Being able to have an open and honest relationship with your parents is such a precious thing. A relationship in which the parents not only say but model unconditional love - “there is nothing you could ever say or do that would ever stop me loving you”.

Through no fault of her own but through her fathers’ serious illness, this teen girl’s life had been thrown into turmoil from an early age. Her parents hadn’t meant to not give her the time she needed, they loved her dearly, but the love and attention she needed had been stolen from her by her mum having to devote so much time to her ill husband. As a result, from the age of six the girl felt rejected, alone and sad and to make herself feel better had gone in search of things and people who could fill this gaping hole in her life. Thus smoking, drinking, drugs and hanging out with people, that under other circumstances she wouldn’t have even met, fulfilled her need for love and security. Her relationship with her mum and dad was one of secrets, lies and raised voices.

This all struck a very deep chord with me – and I am sure it will do with some of you. When I was a child there were many ‘conditions’ on the love I received from my parents. This led me to take a path in my younger years that I now look back on in sadness. I have felt that emptiness, tried to fill the hole in my heart with so many things that just didn’t fit and ended up filling it with many wrong things.

When I had my own children I vowed to myself that I would never love them the way I was loved. I would fight to be the kind of mum who ‘loved with an unconditional love’. Last week I had the pleasure of hearing from my eldest, “Mum, I love you, you are my best friend and I really love that I can tell you anything and you don’t judge me, just love me”. It was such an amazing honour to hear. Don’t get me wrong though, I am not the world’s best mother and still mess up as from the youngest I heard “I hate you, you never listen to me!” So the jury is out it is 50:50, but that is not going to stop me loving her just the same.

As for my longing for someone to love me with unconditional love, eight years ago after a lot of searching, I met my perfect parent. God is the Father who stepped into my life and loves me unconditionally. He loves me with an everlasting love, He knows everything about me and still loves me, He desire is to lavish love on me, He will never stop doing good to me, He encourages me, He comforts me, He wipes my tears away, He doesn’t hold grudges or throw any of my wrong doings back at me, He provides for all my needs – and so much more. In my heart was a hole that needed filling, it is in all our hearts. It’s a God shaped hole, that only God can fill.

Now knowing that I am loved unconditionally, feeling the sense of well being and security that that brings really helps me do the same. It’s always easy to pass on something you have received in buckets full yourself.

Can I encourage you to love your children unconditionally and if you don’t know how then ask God to show you. Our children deserve the best, we deserve the best and God is the best and He desires to be the best for us.

Father, thank you that there is nothing we could ever say or do that would stop you from loving us. Help us to love our children in that way. Amen

Read and see how much God loves you..................

http://www.fathersloveletter.com/text.html

Friday, 8 October 2010

SMILE :-)


Every time you smile at someone, it is an action of love, a gift to that person, a beautiful thing. Mother Teresa

I like to think of myself a generally happy person, I don’t like being sad. Though I am sure none of us do! I don’t like seeing other people sad either. Learning, through experience, that I cannot always make them feel better (only God can do that), I can help by smiling at them, by being encouraging, telling them how wonderful they are, how special they are to me and how loved they are by God. I love putting a smile on people’s faces – sometimes it’s the only time in a day when they are told that they are appreciated and loved – and it is such an honour to be able to do that.

When faced with a negative or tough situation in life I like to fight against it, trying my best to think of all the good things and blessings I have in my life that totally counteract any bad thing that may be happening. I am not superwoman and admit there are many times when it is hard to do, but I always try; to not do so in my mind is giving in to the lies of the enemy who would have us living under a cloud all the time if he could. Life is rubbish too often. Sadly we live in a broken world where sickness, disappointment, disaster, fear and loss are apt to affect us on a regular basis. The temptation to wallow in bad situations is all too easy.

Have you heard the expression “smile and the whole world smiles with you”? It is so true. Even in tough times, taking a moment to smile at someone, putting aside your own selfish needs and wants in order to make someone else feel good, not only helps them but is medicine for your soul too. With a positive mental attitude and a smile on our faces we can challenge the way the world thinks and feels.

So, even if your world is falling apart at the moment, I challenge you to count your blessings, think of all the amazing things that have happened in your lives (don’t allow the bad stuff to erase the good from your thoughts), and then I challenge you to make others smile – all you have to do is smile at them.

‘May the Lord bless you and protect you. May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you. May the Lord show you his favour and give you his peace.’ Numbers 6 v 24-25

Friday, 1 October 2010

Memories are made of this!


Sitting on a friend’s sofa with her the other day, as she rocked her little one to sleep, she began to sing a children’s song that I haven’t hear for such a long time. Immediately I was taken back to the time I last heard it when I was a small child.

“We went to the animal fair, the birds and the beasts were there.
By the light of the moon a big baboon was combing his auburn hair.
The monkey fell out of his bunk and slid down the elephant’s trunk.
The elephant sneezed and fell to his knees,
and what became of the monkey, monkey?”

In that moment I was 8 years old again, sitting in the back of our family car singing the song, in the round, with my parents, brother and sister. It was so wonderful listening to her singing that song, such an unexpected moment of lovely warm memories.

That experience started me thinking about just how many songs remind me of life experiences, people and places.

· Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen) and I am sitting under the Christmas tree, December 1975 in my parents lounge in the dark, looking up at the coloured patterns on the ceiling made by the fairy lights on the tree.

· Wonderful Tonight (Eric Clapton) and I am dancing with my wonderful new husband at our wedding in 1993.

· She’s always a woman (Billy Joel) and I immediately think of Alice, my youngest daughter.

· Three times a lady (Commodores) my first school disco!
There are many things that trigger memories, both happy and sad: songs, smells, food, sounds. Remember, as you sing a song to your small person, cook them their favourite meal or inflict them with your favourite CD in the car; that you are nurturing the very same memories for them that you and I find ourselves enjoying. Invest in memories, create memories, enjoy memories. Get out those old vinyl records, make your favourite food, take a look at some old photos – spend some time with your memories. Memories are precious – indulge yourself and enjoy them.

May God bless you in your memories x x x x

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fJ9rUzIMcZQ

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Precious Moments


I truly believe that each day you are a parent contains at least three or more precious moments, some that are worthy of a photograph, others that are more mundane, everyday moments yet still very precious. I know that it is at least three because there are two that happen every day without fail. The first is that moment when you see them in the morning, that first smile, kiss or hug good morning; and last of the day is the tucking into bed ritual, goodnight kiss and telling them how much you love them - both of these being truly precious moments in any parents’ day.

I figure if those are the more ‘mundane’ of precious moments then the rest of the day we should be wandering around with our camera never out of our hand to capture the more moving and exciting moments that are bound to happen. The first smile, the first word, the first lost tooth, the success or failure in a spelling test, learning how to ride a bike – the list is endless.

I have been a parent now for 5,702 days with my eldest daughter, and running concurrently, 4,973 days with my youngest, which means by my calculation I have had at least 17,106 precious moments for the eldest and 14,919 for the youngest! (Those of you who know me well know that I love photographs and do have most of those Kodak moments recorded!)

Precious parenting moment no: 17,107 happened last night. It was so unbelievably precious, my eldest who is nearly 16 fell asleep in my arms. She had had a tough day, we were lying in bed together chatting through it all, putting her life back in perspective, giving her the affirmation she needed to move on from a challenging life experience. After a while she went quiet and I lie there listening to her breathing change as she snuggled into my hug and felt so loved that she slipped off to sleep, such a precious moment that I wanted to cry. I lay there for a long time thanking God for his gift to me of such a beautiful child – and for being able to experience such love. When I thought it couldn’t get any better precious moment no: 17,108 happened this morning as I woke to find her still sleeping next to me, looking so beautiful and peaceful – truly adorable, her hair all tousled and panda eyes from party makeup.

Parenting is tough, in near rips your heart out sometimes. It’s both confusing and challenging no matter what age your children are – 5 or 45! But when rewarded with such precious moments, would any of us say we would rather not be doing it? Watch out for your three precious moments today – savour them all!

Lord, thank you so much for our children. Thank you for all those precious moments, help us to notice them all and truly appreciate them. Guide us in this minefield that is parenting and help us to raise your children and love them as much as You do. Amen.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Giggles!


Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face. Victor Hugo

Don’t you just love giggles? I had the wonderful pleasure of looking after a little one this week who when I blew raspberries on his cheek he giggled the most amazing giggle and his little face lit up. His giggles made me giggle too which not only made him happy but me also. Child laughter is definitely one of world´s greatest joys.

Giggling starts with a ripple and often expands into a belly laugh. It’s really therapeutic, relaxing and calming. With a little laughter you are free to enjoy the absurd. Kids are quick to laugh, and you don’t have to be a comedian to entertain them. Little kids, especially, will laugh at just about anything – just give them an excuse. A silly face or an absurd comment can elicit shrieks of delight. They have the best giggles. Do you still remember those wonderful days with your best friend when you could start laughing with no reason and laugh so long you could barely breathe? Oh - to have such laughter again!

Did you ever play the game when you were a kid travelling in a car or waving to the people travelling behind you; we made it into a competition to see how many people waved back. We used to scream with laughter at the results we got playing this game. Some grouches used to ignore us, some smiled, some waved back and once one driver honked his horn. It was a really easy way to spread happiness and we shared lots of giggles.

Never push away a giggle. If you have forgotten how to giggle rediscover tickles and talking gibberish, singing daft songs or playing boo! Life is at times far too serious – vote today for a life full of the ridiculous! Giggle ‘til it hurts – it’s amazing.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Pay It Foward - Love others as I have loved you


I have just been to one of those house parties that sells ‘stuff’, plastic food storage boxes, greetings cards, cookware etc. Part of the sales talk was telling us punters how we too could make lots of money in one of these pyramid selling schemes. In these schemes the sales person searches out and enlists another five people to sell the same goods, taking a commission from their sales; in turn these new five people search out and enlist another five people each; each of them earning commission from their five people and the original person now earning commission from 25 people – and so it grows.

As I sat there I was reminded of a film recommended to me recently, I haven’t seen it yet but I am going to order a copy this weekend. It is called Pay It Forward and stars Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt. In the story an 11 year old child, Trevor, is given an assignment at school to devise a plan that will change the world for the world for the better. Trevor's plan is a charitable pyramid scheme, based on good deeds rather than profit. He calls his plan "Pay It Forward", which means the recipient of a favour does a favour for a third party rather than paying the favour back. Trevor does a favour for three people, asking each of them to "pay the favour forward" by doing favours for three other people, and so on, along a branching tree of good deeds. His first good deed is to let a homeless man named Jerry live in his garage, and Jerry pays the favour forward by doing car repairs for Trevor's mother.

How wonderful is that, a ‘not for profit’ pyramid scheme with absolutely no money involved: radical but truly beautiful. I love telling people how amazing they are, doing good things for people, loving people above and beyond their expectations. Not for my profit, but theirs; there is nothing nicer that passing on a smile or good word.

What kind of a world would we live in if everyone ‘paid it forward’ all the time?

I think it’s quite sad that today’s overly PC society tends dissuade people from doing good things for others. I don’t want to live in a world like that and as a follower of Jesus I have learnt that I don’t have to. Jesus teaches us to “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you” and ”Love your neighbor as yourself”. And then I encourage you all to “Pay It Forward”.

Better to be poor in pocket but rich in love x x x x x YOU ARE ALL AMAZING AND I LOVE YOU!


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CwHcS-XoYbc

Friday, 3 September 2010

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year to you all!
Remember the days when the New Year started on 1st January, those heady days before you had children? Now New Years Day is the 1st September (or there about) and your whole life now revolves around school terms, academic years -no longer calendar years.

Remember how the run up to New Years Day was planning whose party you were going to, what you were going to wear and which night bus you were going to get home? Now the run up to New Year is school uniform shopping, waiting in line in Clarks shoe shop and the hour long decision in WH Smith on this year’s pencil case!

Remember how New Years Eve was spent getting dolled up, getting to the party at the right time-fashionably late; and then having a great night with your mates? Now New Years Eve is packing PE kits and school bags, labelling school uniform, bath, hair wash and an early night all round!

And remember how New Years day was spent walking home in the small hours of the morning, singing at the top of your voice and then crashing into bed and sleeping all day. Now New Years day is up early, packed lunches, school jumpers, shoes on, in the car, in the playground, tears all round, then home or rush off to work and a well earned cup of tea!

Remember........................ Happy New Year to you all!

You wouldn’t have it any other way now would you?

Lord Jesus, thank you for the changes that come into our lives with the gift of children. In this busy time in the year help us to fully engage with and enjoy every moment. Amen

Friday, 27 August 2010

Walking in High Heels!


Point your kids in the right direction — when they're old they won't be lost. Proverbs 22:6 (The Message)

We have been invited to a wedding in October and this week went shopping for outfits. My two girls and I had a wonderful time in every clothes shop in the Harlequin Centre in Watford, trying on almost everything.

In the changing rooms in River Island I was met with emotion that totally took me by surprise. Molly my 15 (and a half) year old tried on a red dress that I had chosen for her. As she stepped out of the changing room I burst into tears! There standing in front of me was a 5’7” woman looking absolutely stunning with a perfect hour glass figure in the most amazing red dress – what I had sent into the changing room was my little girl, what came out looked very much like that lady in the Special K advert, yet miles more beautiful! Alice giggled at me and said “Mum, it’s not her wedding dress!” But there was no stopping my tears of pride and my heart breaking at the same time.

It’s incredible how quickly children grow. Only yesterday they were in nappies and the next minute they are teenagers. They are so capable and independent that it’s easy to forget that they haven’t mastered everything.

It seems as soon as our children learn to walk and talk we assume that they are able to do a lot more than they actually can. As I have watched Molly in the last few days looking like Bambi as she learns how to walk in her first pair of high heels shoes, that go with this new dress; I know that she still needs my help. “Mum, do you put your toes down first or your heels?”

As children grow there will be many times when they reject your help even though they need it. That’s alright, it’s just another way of learning. The biggest challenge for us as parents is to avoid saying “I told you so”. When in doubt about what they know, put yourself in their place. It has taken us years of practice to master what works and doesn’t and still there are many times when we stumble. Be patient and guide them gently in the right direction, allowing them to learn from their own mistakes. Marvel at how they are growing. Remember that they are finding their way.

Father God, thank you for our children, for the privilege and fun it is raising them for you. Lord I ask you to bless us and guide us in how to best look after them. Amen

Friday, 20 August 2010

Handle with care!


Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him. Psalm 127:3

One of my dear friends went back to work this week as her maternity leave finished. It has been a tough week for her, missing her gorgeous 6 month old little boy terribly. Her facebook status on Thursday read “the novelty has worn off and now I just miss my boy!”

The week after next marks more landmark times for us all, as some of your little ones go off to nursery for the first time, others into reception and the rest of you are a year closer to that dreaded time. I remember those days as if they were yesterday, and now in the blink of an eye, I have raced through all those moments and am fast approaching the 'leaving home' stage with my girls!

God gifts us these lovely little souls to look after, in all honesty they are never ours, they belong ultimately and always to Him; and as such it’s a huge responsibility to raise them for Him. The world seems to expect so much of them and so soon. So as the world rushes to take them from us let’s remember:

1. Their hands are small, don’t expect perfection whenever they make a bed, draw a picture, or throw a ball. Slow down so that they can keep up with you.

2. Their eyes have not seen the world as yours have; let them explore it safely; don’t restrict them unnecessarily.

3. Make time for them, housework will always be there; they are only little once.

4. They have feelings too. Treat them as you would like to be treated.

5. They are a gift, treasure them as God intended. Hold them accountable, give them guidelines to live by, discipline them with love.

6. They need encouragement to grow, not empty praise. Go easy, you can correct the things they do without putting them down.

7. Give them the freedom to make decisions, even if they are not always right. Permit them to fall, so they can learn to walk.

8. Don’t do things repeatedly for them; that makes them feel like their efforts do not measure up to your expectations. Please do not compare them with others; they are themselves and can be no one else.

9. Don’t be afraid to leave them with grandparents so that you can have a weekend together. Kids need some times away from parents, just as parents need some time away from children. Besides it shows them that your marriage/relationship is something very special.

10. Take them to God’s house and introduce them to Him, because they will need Him for the rest of their lives.

Never stop praying for your children, giving them to God in that way is claiming God’s plan and promises for their lives.

Lord, thank you for the precious gifts of children that you have given us, remind us that life isn't a matter of milestones, but of moments and help us to savour each one of them. Amen

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Give and it will be given to you!


“Give, and it will be given to you” Luke 6:38

Doesn’t it feel good to give? As mums, we’re programmed to give. We give up our figures to carry babies in our bellies. We give up our exercise classes for Tumble Tots. We give up our ‘me’ time for Toddler Group. We give up our sleep for nightly feeds. We give up a lot! But we get a lot in return.

I have heard many mothers say “I don’t know when I have been so happy. There is nothing more fulfilling in life than having a baby.” – and they meant it!

I guess that is true, although there are days when you haven’t had a shower or any sleep that you might question that statement! Being a mother is a great honour and an awesome undertaking. It requires a great deal of giving – giving love, giving praise, giving encouragement, giving wisdom, giving correction – giving it all! We don’t have to do it alone. On the days when we have nothing left to give, God does. Even during this long summer holiday, when our kids are with us, needing even more of us than normal. He will supply all our needs. He will give to us so we can give to our families.


Lord, help me to never grow weary of giving. Amen

Friday, 6 August 2010

Love Never Fails


Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:8)

Do you know that some children grow up without ever hearing “I love you” said to them by their parents? It’s true. Maybe you are one of those people who grew up without ever hearing those three important words. If you are, then I’m sure you know how hurtful and devastating it is to never feel loved.

I have a friend who grew up in a home like that – where love was never communicated – and she has struggled in that area. We all need to hear the words. As wives/partners we need to hear those words from our husbands/partners. And as mums, we need to communicate our love to our children.

There are many ways we can say “I love you”. We can leave little love notes to our spouses/partners and our children, sneaking them into lunchboxes and backpacks or under pillows. We can verbally express our love every morning and every night. We can bake a big cake and write “I love you” on it. Be as creative as you want, just make sure you take time to express your love every day. Be an ambassador of love in your home.

Father, help me to express my love to my family. Amen

Friday, 30 July 2010

What would you do if I sang out of tune?


Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy. Philippians 1:3-4

Ok it’s week one of the summer holidays and I am missing you all already – please don’t go away again.

I have made so many amazing friends through Barney’s over the years and count you all as family. Remember the Barney’s motto ‘once a Barney’s member-always a Barney’s member’. I never stop thinking about you all and praying for you and your small people. I can’t thank God enough for choosing me to lead this group and be able to hang out with you all.

As it says in that wonderful song by Joe Cocker

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_wG6Cgmgn5U
Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends,
I get high with a little help from my friends,
I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends

God bless you all, missing you loads, have a wonderful break.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

UNENDING LOVE, AMAZING GRACE


This week I know what I want to say to you, but these guys say it so much better, so I defer to the great John Newton for the great lyrics of this song and Chris Tomlin for the new arrangement.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqJsBRFdrA0


Amazing grace
How sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me
I once was lost, but now I'm found
Was blind, but now I see
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear
And grace my fears relieved
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believed

My chains are gone
I've been set free
My God, my Saviour has ransomed me
And like a flood His mercy reigns
Unending love, Amazing grace

The Lord has promised good to me
His word my hope secures
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow
The sun forbear to shine
But God, who called me here below
Will be forever mine
Will be forever mine
You are forever mine


YOUR chains are gone, YOU’VE been set free
YOUR God, YOUR Saviour has ransomed YOU
And like a flood His mercy rains
UNENDING LOVE, AMAZING GRACE

Friday, 9 July 2010

The silliness of today is the fond memory of tomorrow.


“The game!” shouts Alice from the back of the car.

“Oh Alice, not again, I’ve lost again!” replied Molly. “Have you seen that there is someone at school with ‘the game’ printed on the back of their sweatshirt, so we are always losing?”

“Did you know that ‘the game’ is only over when the Queen says so?” asks Alice, “and that Chuck Norris has won it, so it’s no good playing it anyway, cos Chuck Norris has already won!”

“Chuck Norris, he’s such a loser” Molly adds to the conversation.

“Mum, who is Chuck Norris?” Alice asks.

Well, needless to say that I couldn’t answer that question for three good reasons. Firstly I was trying to concentrate on my driving and as much as I like to always give good solid answers to my children’s questions this was an inopportune moment; secondly, I couldn’t speak for laughing at the sheer randomness of the conversation that was going on and thirdly, and most importantly, I had absolutely no idea who Chuck Norris was!

These precious moments of total unpredictability, hold onto them, delight in them. When you find yourself crying with laughter alongside your children at either something they have said or done, remember to store it in your memory bank. The silliness of today is the fond memory of tomorrow. The gifts of being human, equal, real and vulnerable with your children are greater than anything you can purchase.”

These moments are what hold you up on the days when parental tedium takes over and on those days when you wonder how you ever thought that you would make even a ‘reasonable’ parent. Connect with your inner randomness, join in the silliness of the conversation, revel in the joy of childhood and if you don’t know who Chuck Norris is then there is always GOOGLE!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (TNIV)

Friday, 2 July 2010

Let them cry!


“As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you” Isaiah 66:13

Tears have many dimensions. There are tears of pain and suffering and tears of happiness and delight. There are the loud cries of a newborn signalling “I’m hungry” or “Hold me – I’m lonely.” A mother learns quickly to understand the meaning of her baby’s cry.

But it’s not just babies that cry. As they grow, of course, there will be many times when both boys and girls need to cry. Tears are a natural way of mending a broken heart and letting go of disappointment. Tears can be an overflowing of happiness and a running over of a heart full of pure joy. Although it might be disturbing to see your child cry, sometimes it is the only release that will calm them.

Even if your child’s tears make you feel helpless, please don’t ever try to stop them; this will make them feel ashamed and teach them to repress their emotions. If you want to do something when your child is crying, ask quietly, “Can I give you a hug?”. If they are willing, gently hold them and tell them it is ok to cry. Let them know that tears are a sign of a sensitive, loving person. Don’t judge or embarrass them. Let them cry until they have emptied themselves of their pain and hurt before you ask them what their tears were all about.

Don’t force them to talk, because sometimes they just don’t know for sure. Sometimes the tears themselves are the only expression needed. If you don’t interfere, tears will bring relief and soon they will feel energetic and happy again.

Let them cry...........and let yourself cry too! God, the great comforter is there for you.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Dreaming BIG dreams!


“Mummy, when a giant stands up does he hit his head on the sky?”

A friend told me the other day that her 5 year old son had asked her the above question. It makes you want to hug him and kiss him all over his cute little head.

I love listening to children playing their make believe games, stories of knights in shining armour, beautiful princesses, all of them running away from sharks, disaster averted and hearts won.
Listening to children sharing these wild and sometimes outrageous stories made me realise why it’s so easy for them to dream big dreams. They have the most amazing imaginations. It’s nothing for them to dream big dreams. God doesn’t have to work through all of the doubt and unbelief like He does with us grown-ups. As we get older, we lose much of that ability to imagine and dream. We become cynical, loaded down with the baggage of life.

We can learn from our children. If we dream without limitations like our children, God will be able to do big things with us. So go ahead. Let your mind become like a child, and dream.

And he said: “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:3

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Father's Love




For many celebrating Fathers Day is a chance to thank their wonderful fathers for all the love, support and encouragement that they have contributed to their lives.

For others sadly that isn’t the case as they mourn the death of their father, relive the pain of an absent father, struggle with the heartache of an abusive father or for some live with the sorrow of never having known who their father was.

I have been really struck by the new Vodafone advert (see above, click link to watch).

A man is at a party, obviously celebrating his promotion at work, and he is just about to make a speech when his mobile rings. He answers it and on the other end is his daughter, in her car, crying she says to him,

“Dad, he’s left me”

He says “Where are you?”

She replies “well I’m parked, half way up the High Street, I couldn’t drive for crying. It’s just made me so angry. I tried to understand what he wanted. I just wanted us to be happy. Is that too much to ask?

“No” he answers.

As she talks he is fast approaching her in a taxi.

“and then he said it was over, like he didn’t even care.” she continues.

“Don’t worry I will be with you very soon” he assures her.

At that moment the taxi stops and he gets into her car. He smiles and hugs her.
“You weren’t doing anything were you?” she asks him as he holds her.

“No, I was just emptying the dishwasher” he says tenderly as he continues to hold her.

For me this is a wonderful example of a father’s love, unconditional, sacrificial love. It makes you feel both happy and sad at the same time. Sadly it’s the kind of love that some of us will never experience from our earthly fathers yet there is Good News for us all. It is the kind of love that we can all experience at all times from our Heavenly Father - Father God. Who says,

“When you are brokenhearted, I am close to you.” Psalm 34:18

“I love you with an everlasting love.” Jeremiah 31:3

“You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.” Psalm 139:15-16

“And it is my desire to lavish my love on you, simply because you are my child and I am your Father.” 1 John 3:1

Please know and believe this.

For those of you looking forward to Sunday, know that God loves you with an everlasting love!

For those of you not looking forward to Sunday, know that God loves you with an everlasting love!

God’s love for everyone is sacrificial and unconditional, whether you know and love Him or not. There is nothing you could ever do that could make Him stop loving you! Nothing at all.

Allow Him to hold you and say “no, I was just emptying the dishwasher”.

If you would like to know more about this wonderful love that is available to all I would love to tell you all about it.

Happy Father’s Day to you all.

Friday, 11 June 2010

It was then that I carried you.....


After talking to many of you this week it seems that many of us are going through tough, troublesome and worrying times. God says:

" When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Isaiah 43:1,2

" I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart ! I have overcome the world ! " John 16:33

This is a poem that I have found strengthening in times of trouble or sadness:

One night I had a dream........
I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord
and across the sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene I noticed two sets of footprints,
one belonged to me and the other to the Lord.
When the last scene of my life flashed before me,
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
I noticed that many times along the path of my life,
there was only one set of footprints.
I also noticed that it happened at the very lowest
and saddest times in my life.
This really bothered me and I questioned the Lord about it.
"Lord, you said that once I decided to follow you,
you would walk with me all the way,
but I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why in times when I needed you most,
you should leave me."
The Lord replied,
"My precious, precious child,I love you and I would never, never leave you
during your times of trial and suffering.
When you saw only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

Leona Lewis sings this poem really well, here it is:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d08X2lN669k&playnext_from=TL&videos=2-d1zNVcNGo

God bless you all this week, and may the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

Kitchen Dancing!

Kitchen dancing!

There is nothing like it, it’s silly, it’s fun, you don’t need to be talented just eager to have a good giggle. No music required either, you can go the whole hog and sing as well!

Steve and I have always ‘kitchen danced’ since before we had the girls. Neither of us are gifted dancers so the privacy of our own kitchen seemed a safe place to express our passion (and daftness) for all genres of dance, the hokey cokey, tango, breakdancing, waltz, tap, disco and we have even tried a bit of electric boogaloo!

The girls have joined in our fun, first of all by doing that wonderful thing where you stand on your Dads’ feet and are waltzed around by him, then teaching us the Bob the Builder Mambo No 5, to more recently introducing styles of their own.

Sometimes, when I am cooking dinner, Steve and I will have a snatched slow dance to cries of “get a room!” from our teenager girls. We all love it, the silliness and intimacy of it can break a tense moment in an instance. When there is a toddler tantrum or a teenage angst moment going on what better than a quick tango to calm the situation down!

Be silly folks, it’s fun. You have to embarrass your kids at some time, it’s in the parents rule book. Give it a go, or invent your own family silliness, your kids will love it and remember it always!

May God bless you in your silliness!
Here is a little something to get you started!

Saturday, 29 May 2010

‘Look to today, because yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow only a vision’


The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning.
Lamentations 3:22-23 (New Living Translation)

I started this week at a three day selection panel, in Staffordshire, to see whether the Church of England will have me as a vicar! It was the most intense thing I have ever done in my life, having to do presentations, written tests, discussions, three interviews and being watched all the time I was there. I am glad to say I survived and actually enjoyed the experience; the other 15 candidates were really good fun to be with and as it was not a competition the level of support for each other was fantastic. I am very proud that I did it. I now have to wait until 9th June to find out the result.

There was, however, one point on Tuesday afternoon where I thought I had blown it. The vocational assessor was a tough interviewer, he asked the same question over and over again and in the end I ran out of different ways to answer it. I came away very frustrated and have to admit to going to my room for a good old sob. I said to God ‘I don’t think I can do this anymore, it’s been interviews and tests for the last two years in this process and I have had enough!’

As I laid on my bed to continue my sob I had to move a book I had been reading earlier, it fell on the floor and opened up, as I looked at it on the floor this is what I read:

‘The key to freshness in our walk with God is not to dwell on either yesterday’s successes or yesterday’s failures. God has a truckload of new mercies awaiting our lives every day when we wake up. We must not be flushed with our successes or duped by our failures. Yesterday belongs with yesterday and today is a new day of amazing mercy, grace and blessing.’

That was me told!

I pulled myself together, eager to get on with the next interview and put that last one behind me. There was nothing I could do to change it and the next one was a fresh start as far as God was concerned.

If you are living in regret of something, please don’t. God’s compassion, love and mercy for you is fresh every moment of every day. Put it down, whatever it is, forgive yourself and anyone else that it may involve and move on. Forgiveness is a tricky, long and hard thing to do, but a worthwhile journey (please speak to me if you need help with it, I would love to help you and pray with you).

As my wise old nan used to say ‘Look to today, because yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow only a vision’.

Love and prayers with you all, Sal x x x x x

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Be proud of your kids, because God is proud of His!


Last night Molly and I went to Dudley’s pancake shop in Barnet to celebrate her doing, yesterday morning, the first of many GCSE exams that she has in the next three weeks. It just seemed right to treat her because I am so proud of how much work she has put into preparing for these exams, the results really don’t seem that important as I have seen how hard she has worked to attain her best.

Children thrive on heartfelt praise and recognition from their parents and carers. Growing up knowing that you are valued and enjoyed makes you more receptive to love, more able to receive positive feedback and to be able to give and receive affection naturally and easily. Children who never hear words of love from their parents tend to be suspicious of compliments and lack self esteem. Children who are accustomed to constant negativity in the home have difficulty accepting the slightest praise as though they are unable to let love in.

I love telling my children how proud I am of them, they are the best and most beautiful ‘Molly’ and ‘Alice’ in the world (as far as I am concerned!). Some parents only brag when their children are not around because they don’t want their children to get a ‘big’ head. I was one of those people when my two were little, until one wise mum said to me “There is nothing wrong with being a proud Mum and telling them”, so now I do both! I recommend honest praise for your children, to them and in front of them. Don’t worry about it going to their heads, they seem to keep it all in balance and in my experience it doesn’t spoil them in any way, just enhances their characters.

Children especially need to know you are proud of them when they have failed; telling them that you are proud of their efforts, with words like “I am really proud that you tried so hard and congratulations for hanging in there”. It’s important that they know the difference between failing at a task and being a failure. When a dejected six year old heads your way, sad that they weren’t top of the class in the spelling test this week they surely deserve a huge ice-cream for trying so hard to learn those spellings in the first place!

Be proud of your children. Water them with words of love. Just like plants they will soak up the ‘water’ and they will thrive.

2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 (New Living Translation)
Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and by his grace gave us eternal comfort and a wonderful hope, comfort you and strengthen you in every good thing you do and say.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

We all need somebody to lean on!


Trust in God. Lean on your God! Isaiah 50:10 (The Message)

Do you remember that song “Lean on me” by Al Green? I think Club Nouveau remade it in the 80’s and I heard the Glee cast sing it a few weeks ago. I love the words to that song. I’ve always thought it is a real inspirational song, one to belted out at the top of your voice. Do you remember the words? “Lean on me. When you’re not strong. I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on.” (Bet you are singing along right now, aren’t you?)

If there is anything that us parents need, it’s someone to lean on from time to time. When the washing machine is broken, when the car is in the garage, when the kids are ill, when jobs are lost, when the bank account is empty and payday is a week away........we all need someone to lean on.

I’m so thankful that God is there for me to lean on in the difficult times. Even when my husband, children or friends don’t understand my feelings and even if there is no one else around to lean on, I have always got God.

And so have YOU.

He promises in the Bible never to leave us or forsake us. We can lean on Him, and He’s happy to let us. So if you are having a lousy day, lousy week, or even a lousy year, God understands and He loves you. Go ahead, lean on Him. He will be your friend, He’ll help you carry on.

Thank you Lord that we can count on You. Thanks for always being there for us. Amen x x x

Listen to God singing to you...............

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUhR7CrI5GU

Saturday, 1 May 2010

Love is..............


If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

1 Corinthians 13 1-7 (The Message)

Friday, 23 April 2010


God told them, "I've never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love! Jeremiah 31:3 (The Message)

If you have ever rocked a baby in the stillness of the night, then got up in the morning exhausted from lack of sleep, you know how difficult parenting can be and also what joy your child can bring. If you have ever cuddled up to your baby and had that very same sweet smelling baby throw up on your clean shirt, you know how frustrated you can feel at the same time as your heart wells up with overwhelming love. If you have ever resented spending your hard earned money on piano, tennis, swimming or ballet lessons that seem taken for granted, then watched with pride your child’s sense of achievement, you know the difficult journey you face and the rewards it will bring.

As they grow they seem to challenge you at every turn – they no longer accept your guidance unquestioningly, but seem to disagree with every word you utter, then when you are sure you are going mad, out of the blue they make an observation, see a new angle, or put a new twist on things, and you marvel at the brilliance of their perspective.

No one ever said parenting would be easy. Parenting means giving unselfishly when you are exhausted. It means buying your children new shoes while you go without. It means running them around everywhere. It means staying up late and not being able to lie in. It means sharing everything – even when you didn’t know you were sharing it! It means loving unconditionally.

Although parenting is perhaps the most important calling, it is the least taught in our culture. These small people turn up in our lives and we are expected to know how to look after them and raise them by osmosis. Never feel ashamed to ask for help, we are all in the same boat – child not sleeping, potty training, clingy child, the list is endless. Talk to other parents or read books on parenting and child development, try the Barney’s Toddler Group library. If you are stumped look for a parenting course to attend, there are some around. We have run them at St B’s before and are happy to do them again.

Just remember, you are not alone, every parent has/is been there and has/is wearing the T shirt. Mine says “Fifteen years experience, surviving, no expert, but please ask me I would love to try and help”.

Friday, 16 April 2010


Point your kids in the right direction, when they're old they won't be lost. Proverbs 22v6 (The Message)

Sometimes it is easy to forget that children have just arrived on the earth, and we expect far too much, far too soon. We become impatient, urging them to learn it all, learn it all quickly, to know it all and “act their age”, whatever that may mean.

Although it is true that children learn quickly about life through observation, it is unrealistic to expect them to be on top of it all and always get things right. I am the proud owner of two teenagers who, despite their size, both love to crawl into my lap and be hugged and rocked like they were when they were little. This is when I realise that at times my expectations for my children are unrealistic, when my ‘big girls’ still want to be ‘little girls’ – and have every right to be treated so as they have only been on this earth 13 and 15 years respectively. (They may be, physically, almost as big as me, but they are still young and have a lot to learn about life – come to think of it so do I!)

In your parenting how often do you find yourself beginning each sentence with “Don’t”. Have you asked yourself “Have I explained what I do want? Have I showed him/her how to close the door quietly? How I explained how to get my attention when I am busy?”. Explaining the dos works much better than constantly harping on the don’ts. Try explaining things to them, share information three times in three different ways.

One of my friends caught her three year old son playing roughly with their new kitten. After yelling at him numerous times to be gentler with the kitten she realised that she had never shown him how to hold a kitten properly. So she stopped and showed him. She let him practise with her helping him, she showed him a few more times and after a while he got the hang of it.
Give your children lots of practice time for whatever they’re learning, and remind yourself that, after all, they’ve been here a very short time.

Father God, you are the greatest teacher and perfect Father, please guide us in how to be good parents to our children. Show us how to model your unconditional love. Thank you for blessing us with them and may we in turn be a blessing to them. Amen

Friday, 9 April 2010

Open the floodgates of heaven and let it rain!

Rain is a good reminder of how our attitude can affect everything. Some of us let it destroy our day, others consider it a blessing.

Children seem to like the rain. They like to get wet and splash in puddles. When our girls were 7 & 9 we went on a family holiday to France. From the moment we arrived it rained, and rained, and rained. Steve and my first reactions were great, some holiday! The girls, however, were really not bothered by it. On the third morning when we got up, it was still raining, we went downstairs in our pyjamas for breakfast and just as we sat at the table Molly said “let’s go outside in the rain in our pyjamas Mum.” Steve and I looked at each other, mumbled excuses why we shouldn’t and prepared breakfast. “Come on Mum, let’s go outside” Molly asked again.

In that moment I felt the urge to agree with her, so outside we went, in our pyjamas, barefoot across the gravel courtyard and onto the grass, shrieking and laughing at the same time. It was howling down with rain, we were wet through in seconds, but it didn’t matter it was amazing fun. We stood on the grass by the trees, faces towards the sky, filling our open mouths with the rain – all of us like little kids. Then Alice shouted ‘there’s something on my foot!’, we looked down to see a tiny frog sitting on her foot, and there were lots and lots of them on the grass, all hopping around enjoying the rain like we were. In that moment life felt fresh and simple. It was pure joy. It was much more fun that being practical. Years later we all remember that day so clearly, that crazy, but fun morning.

When it comes to enjoying the simple pleasures in life, children are our best teachers. Adults forget quickly and get caught up in the little things that don’t matter very much. So what if you get wet when it is raining? By worrying about that you miss out on the fun of the moment. Kids can remind us to keep our attitude positive and our thoughts focussed on what really makes our hearts sing.

So relax and let the rain fall. Try never to miss out on a moment of joy with your kids!

The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very centre of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them. Mark 10:13 The Message