Showing posts from August, 2016

Did you find a word for the year? by Susan Sanderson

I was reminded that I had chosen a word for the year, when I read the post by Helen Murray on 23 August.  Her word for the year is Alive.  Mine is Rest. I had become aware that I find it very difficult to do nothing.  Sometimes I try to do more than one thing at a time.  I often check my phone at mealtimes.  I know it is unnecessary and not good manners.  The information arriving on my phone is unlikely to be urgent.  Impatience does not sit well with resting. I took a rest from knitting for a few months.  I recently knitted a baby garment with a self-imposed deadline, which I met.  My current project is just for fun.  I am knitting a small jumper with no recipient in mind.  There are no deadlines.  Perhaps I can correct some bad habits I have, when I am trying to get something finished quickly.  I become tense, knit too tightly and hurt my index finger by using it to press the point of a needle to move the stitches towar…




Writing is a journey where the goal is usually publication (traditional or otherwise).

What I feel I’ve been guided to appreciate more over the years is the importance of enjoying that journey and seeing the “trip” as a series of steps. The more I write, the more important I see celebrating those steps. 

If you can’t handle the small successes in the writing life, how can you manage the bigger ones should they happen?  I realise now the small steps are crucial to my  development as a writer.  They show I am developing!

It has helped me to accept nobody does it all at once.  Accepting that point has liberated me from pressurising myself to believe “by the time I’m 50 I must have achieved this or that”.  I still don’t know if I’ll ever get my novel published but I know I’ll give it my best shot.  If God wants it to happen, it will.

Of course it is great if you do achieve what you set out to do but life (and our faith) is full of surprises, some lovely, others less so. I’ve had to accept m…

Signposts in the cosmos by Trevor Thorn

Just looking up at the stars on a clear night has to leave an impression.


Here is a universe, signposted throughout with pointers to the universal love, which can sweep us into His own broken-ness: which can overwhelm us, transform us, and make us part of a fellowship of bread and wine, that is a tide,
prepared to flood creation with the outpouring of that love.

This is a poem from a collection that weaves together themes of beauty, science and faith which can be found HERE

Growing a second skin – or dealing with book reviews

by Fiona Veitch Smith Today I read a bad review of one of my books. Well, it wasn’t that bad. It was still 3-stars and it said I had written about an interesting time period and I had handled the mystery element well. But it also said the narrative was flat and the dialogue awkward and stilted. Sigh.
I knew I shouldn’t have read it. When I saw the three stars I knew it would be a mixed bag; I should have just moved on. But it’s like a car crash; you’ve just got to look, just to see that no one’s that seriously hurt … haven’t you? Well, apparently not. Some writers claim that they consider reviews of absolutely no consequence whatsoever:
“A bad review is even less important than whether it is raining in Patagonia.”Iris Murdoch
I wish I felt the same Iris; you’re obviously made of stronger stuff than me. But I am trying to grow that second skin, honestly …
I know some writers who never read their reviews. Or claim not to. I am not one of them. I do like to think I can learn from them and if…

Finding My Way, by Fiona Lloyd

In my opinion, somewhere along the line we’ve got it wrong with our family. Between them this year, our offspring have visited The Netherlands, Germany, The Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Crete, Thailand and Australia. My husband and I went to Whitby.
We had a fantastic time, though: we’ve been trying to be more active this year, so our fortnight at the coast involved lots of walking and fresh air. (The best routes also included ice creams and / or several cups of tea).
For one of our first walks, we decided to visit a local farm shop, where they specialise in humungous ice cream sundaes, with a choice of around 20 flavours. Being the obsessive one in our relationship, I’d studied the map the night before and planned out what I thought was the best route.
“It’s pretty straightforward,” I announced. “We just walk down this path until we reach the woodland, turn left through the trees, and then cut across the fields.” Hubby – naively assuming I knew what I was talking about – nodded his…

Don’t you know there’s a war on?

Don’t you know there’s a war on?—A catchphrase used during the Second World War to anyone who thought that peacetime conditions still obtained.

We have just finished rereading C. S. Lewis’s The Last Battle, in which Narnia comes to an end. It is a tale of invasion, sabotage, and combat; but it is also a tale of political intrigue, deception, and treachery. The two go hand in hand, but the latter is the more catastrophic, for it corrupts the heart of Narnia.

At the end of last month, a Christian friend who lives in France was visiting. It was just after the murder of Father Jacques Hamel in Rouen.  ‘It’s as if we are living through a war,’ we said to each other. ‘In fact, that’s what it is. There’s a war on.’

This is not just about IS versus the West. If only it were that simple. We now see military conflicts with three (or more) sides. We now see violence that can be directed against anyone, anywhere, without warning. We now see combatants with no interest in avoiding death, so that they…

Keeping the dream alive - by Helen Murray

I had no idea how tired I was until I got to Scargill this year.
It’s a short drive to Scargill from Skipton, which looks a lovely town, but I pass by the inviting cafes and intriguing independent shops because I know that real treasure is just around the bend. And the other bends. And over the hills, and across the valley.
Scargill is a place to breathe. I think I stopped breathing a while ago; maybe as long as two years. I’ve become busier and busier; aware that my jokes about living on a hamster-wheel are no longer funny, but the extent of my suffocation was only evident this weekend.
I have dreams that have been shelved, because there’s just no room for them.
I’ve told myself that I’ve put them aside just for now, that life won’t always be so frantic, that there are seasons for everything, and this season is one of constant motion, clock-watching, going, doing, coming back. That might just be it.Around that distant bend might be a time when there are fewer demands on me, physically…

Building on Firm Foundations

Like many people, we are on holiday at the moment. I am staying in Cornwall with my in-laws, looking out of the window at St Michael’s Mount - what bliss!
One of the things we are enjoying whilst here is the fruition of my husband’s parents’ decades long dream of building a house from scratch. This has been in their minds for as long as I’ve known them, and many years before. 
This week is foundation week, and we’ve all watched excitedly as thirty cubic metres of concrete has been poured into trenches. It’s a very exciting time in the plan, because having been through the process of finding the site, designing the house, and finding architects and contractors, proper building can finally start. 
It got me wondering about house building as a metaphor for writing. There are those wondrous times we can see real progress on the page in the shape of actual volume of material, but lots of work has to go on beneath the surface before a book, poem, article or suchlike appears on the top. 
So what…