SPRING SING

REALLY, REALLY THRILLED to share with Ordinand Tracy and our schools coordinator Jill at Moss Hey Primary School's Spring Sing today. An inspirational headteacher, terrific and deeply connected staff, really great youngsters and Tracy's telling of The Hungry Caterpillar, together with a marvellous array of Easter bonnets, reminded me why vicars are said to be amongst the happiest people “at work” you can meet. Thank you, Moss Hey, for a great Spring Sing. Have a very Happy Easter!

 

PLOUGHING PATHWAYS

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WEST YORKSHIRE yesterday and Cumbria this morning. Heading North last evening was an adventure and a half. Kudos to Tebay Services who provided pilgrim snowmen with Cumberland sausage, chips, peas, gravy and encouragement (ah the luxury!). Skoda Octavia in 3rd gear traversed six to eight inches deep snow with gutsy applomb – and the world looks beautiful all the way to the horizon this morning. Haircut and other business required today though, so grateful for those who plough pathways …

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WINTER SONATA

 

EVERYONE’S WRAPPED UP well in Cumbria today and there’s talk of the unseasonably mild start to the year giving way to snow. Installed beside a log stove, this lovely Winter Sonata is evocative; memories line up for attention and thoughts of cold serve to highlight the blessings of warmth …

Life is good.

PRAY FOR CONNECTICUT

 

A CALL TO PRAYER here. May the Love of God and of children, women and men around the world bring comfort and solace to each and every troubled soul at this time.

SPECIAL GIFT

THANK YOU SO MUCH to wonderful friends, family, colleagues and parishioners for enormously kind concern and good wishes. For the past two weeks my situation hasn’t changed very much at all. The chest infection makes breathing wheezy and sometimes difficult and I’m permanently flat-out exhausted. I’m also being very well cared for, as usual, and ordinary expressions of gratitude are not enough to cover that fact.

Perhaps I’d be more worried than I am if I hadn’t heard of several other people in a similar situation. I think that antibiotics are slowly beginning to do their work, hope to see my GP again on Friday, and that I’ll begin to pick up sometime soon. Ordinary daily life and contacts have had to be put on hold, frustratingly, especially where illness in others, or baptisms, weddings and funerals are concerned. The dozens of daily meetings, phone calls, emails and blog contacts that are normally as natural as breathing itself are all currently beyond me to any great degree, but I’m reading the odd chapter, being fed by the wonderful psalmody and poetry that my head and heart are full of, and going to sleep in between! And, actually, there’s more time than usual for thinking about people, for a never-ending supply of rich memories, and for prayer. Fr Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditations on the theme of Letting Go have seemed especially apposite this week.

My elder daughter Rachel will marry Ally a month from today so I’m focusing on being fit as a fiddle by then. Meanwhile, family and friends know that silence and stillness are friends to me, never enemies, so I’m not unduly agitated, indeed grateful, really, for opportunity to mull things over a bit and take stock – a couple of spoons-full of my own medicine. In fact I’m hoping to be quietly present for our monthly Monday Meditation next week.

Oddly, for someone who isn’t ordinarily very sporty or athletic, I’ve been much moved by the odd glimpse I’ve had of the Olympics – something to do with the huge commitment, dedication, perseverance and – I suppose – love that are required in order to participate fully. Tears well up in me – for both the winners and the “losers”.

Again, thank you so much for thoughts and prayers. They – and those who offer them – are very greatly appreciated. I’m grateful, too, for Apple’s wonderful new OS Mountain Lion – enabling me to dictate this note. xxx

AFFINITY

WARMEST THANKS to Mary Suzanne at God is I Am for kindly nominating me for A Thought Provoking Blog Award. Mary’s own blog was nominated by the marvellous writer James Fielden at The Way Home. Both writers are generous, open-hearted people who recognise that the Divine I Am is perpetually blessing all of creation with awards of recognition and silently, lovingly showing The Way Home. The blogging world is an enormous study or fellowship group that appeals to me daily because it is without walls. I learn something from this fellowship every day. It make me smile, laugh out loud, cry (sometimes for sadness, sometimes for joy) and pray.

The lovely intention of an award is a drawing our attention – and that of others – to something we believe to be of merit, something that might flower further if it’s encouraged and blessed by smiles, laughter, cheers and tears and hopeful prayer. Jesus is thought to have said, often, in his native Aramaic, “May you be happy. May you be blessed”. Try wishing this blessing for the agitated driver in front of you in the traffic queue – it’s amazing how often you’ll see them look into their rear-view mirror and catch your eye. Wish this blessing wherever you are and for whomsoever you see: “May you be happy. May you be blessed”. And you will be, too!

Mary Suzanne introduces some wonderful bloggers. Christine at Our Soul’s Purpose is amongst these and I’m delighted to have been introduced. Hilariously, I’m trying to persuade my brain to grasp

Today has been a pretty nice day! I had lunch with my daughter, my daughter-in- law (to be) and her mother….who is also my daughters mother in law! (SMILE) Confused? Don’t be…it is simple! My daughter married a wonderful young man named Chris, he has a sister named Amanda……Amanda is engaged to her brothers wife’s brother and my son! LOL OK….I couldn’t help myself! I could have just said; I had lunch with 3 women who I do not get to see often enough and left it at that! But would that have been fun? Maybe for you…..

And amongst the great quotes on Christine’s blog I’m going to breathe this one all day

“There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a person being themselves. Imagine going through your day being unapologetically you.” ~ Steve Maraboli

Again, thank you Mary Suzanne. And thank you to all the members of our marvellous and extraordinary “fellowship group”

FLOWERS AT ROSE LODGE

I DON'T SEE nearly enough of them but know the enduring treasure of parents one would have chosen as closest friends if they weren't already Mum and Dad. There's a parable for me in that they've both loved and shared the vision for the gardens they've tended, wherever they've lived.

Lavender and roses, cherry blossom and wallflowers, clipped privet hedges and tended lawns are woven into my boyhood memories. It was a treat today that recent UK grey turned into blue-skied sunshiney day, so the flowers bloomed in all their glory – the parents, I mean, but the garden flowers too. We talked of the human need to develop and to grow, especially in the ways of the spiritual life. Nevertheless I still find myself wanting to say and to pray, perfectly simply

God bless Mum and Dad, and God bless me and you … and thanks