Showing posts from July, 2017

Making time by Susan Sanderson

“I’ve no time for her!”
“I don’t know where the time goes.”
“Everyone has the same amount of time.”
These are three of the many expressions I have heard about time. The first two are in general use. People naturally avoid time-wasters and those they don’t like. Time passes whether we use it usefully or not.
The third statement was made by a friend of mine in the context of music practice. We can choose to manage our time or to end up feeling we have achieved little.
For Christians there is another dimension. We can give our time to God asking him to guide us to use it wisely. He knows when the person we want to speak to will be able to answer the phone. He may inspire us to improve our efficiency.

I like to share posts from this blog on Twitter. It seems to me that it is useful to include the Twitter handle (username) of the blogger in the Tweet. Hardly any of them include this information in their posts. 
I must have spent hours searching and typing these in - longer than it took me to comp…


Writers need to have some organisation in order to succeed. Admittedly that's not always possible, especially if you have a full time job, kids, relatives who need a lot of care, or a serious mental and/or physical illness, but you need to try.

You also need to keep promises, such as writing a blog on time and not leaving it to the actual day, even then only realising when you see someone else's blog on facebook. (Mentioning no names, but pointing at the person who's meant to be writing the one for today. Cough cough)

So how can you organise yourself?

You could write a plan, but not everyone can use written plans. Sounds odd, I know, but it's not just life that gets in the way of that, it's also personality. Douglas Adams preferrred method of writing was to have someone in the front room of his house, who he'd bring a typewritten page to, when he'd completed it, for feedback. If there was no one around, he found it difficult.

There are other, more subtle w…

The Gratitude Chip

Image Credit:  Pixabay for all images

I think it would help our faith enormously if we all came fitted with a gratitude chip which ran from the moment we woke. It would mean every morning there would be a positive, appreciative (of God) beginning to a new day. I can think of worse starts...

In the story of the ten lepers, only the Samaritan, returns to thank Jesus on realising he has been cured. That caused comment from Our Lord, but how often do we forget to thank God?  More often than we'd like to think I expect. 

How often do our prayers become lists of (understandable) requests rather than praise and thanksgiving?  How often do we take things in life for granted? 

This post is loosely based on a recent sermon I heard which showed how the things we often moan about are blessings.  It's a question of looking at it from the right angle.  My list of things I should be grateful for includes:-

1.   Changing the duvet cover.  While true this is not the easiest of tasks (especiall…

Garden Benedicite by Trevor Thorn

During the two delightfully warm days at the beginning of last week, I had the privilege to be at Launde Abbey where it was possible to sit in the beautiful garden - and reflect
Garden Benedicite For the exquisitely varied patterns of the flight of different birds, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the vibrant hues that adorn the delicate wings of butterflies, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the plethora of insects that drift or fly purposefully through the air, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the gloriously variegated shades of green and bronze that clothe the trees of summer, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the sometimes gnarled and sometimes smooth barks of diverse trees, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the multitude of different grasses to be found in banks and meadows, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.
For the fascinating shapes and colours of gorgeous and homely flowers which invite insects to revel in their pollen, Lord, I give you thanks and praise.

The Nature of Ideas, by Lucy Mills

HOW DO IDEAS COME TO US? How do we engage with them?

Some ideas are only revealed partly; we sense their forms, but it is as if they are covered in a layer of gauze. We need courage and sensitivity to remove that which obscures us from seeing them properly; be determined enough to uncover them; otherwise they may sit, as tantalising shapes, forever. We never find the motivation or courage. Or perhaps we are unwilling to examine more closely – we may find them lacking in some way, only a taste of promise. We don't see their full potential.

Some we need to dig out, brush off – deep-clean, even. We become archaeologists of ideas, old and new; the work is painstaking. Sometimes we can focus and discover something more valuable that we can ever imagine. But often malaise sets in. I find it does. The idea lurks; but I can’t be bothered to dig. As with so much of life, ‘it’s easier not to’.

Some identify with these patches of malaise, of not-botheredness, more than others.  Others can h…

Loneliness, by Eve Lockett

The Word
A pen appeared, and the god said: ‘Write what it is to be man.’ And my hand hovered long over the bare page,
until there, like footprints of the lost traveller, letters took shape on the page’s blankness, and I spelled out
the word ‘lonely’. And my hand moved to erase it; but the voices of all those waiting at life’s window cried out loud: ‘It is true.’ R S Thomas
I came across this poem while I was writing a discussion paper on using words in worship and faith. It struck me immediately as beautifully crafted, spare, profound and honest. The poet is traditionally a lonely figure, along with the writer. But here, Thomas is claiming that loneliness is the universal human condition, affecting us all. He accepts this with reluctance, wanting to erase the word, but has to face the fact that it is true. Being a writer means being prepared to be truthful about human experience, not write what we think people ought to feel. And being truthful begins with ourselves. It ca…

A Time for Everything, by Fiona Lloyd

I know I don’t look a day over 36, but as of today, hubby and I have been married for 30 years. Thirty years! Naturally, we seized upon the excuse to have a party, complete with tea, cakes, and the odd glass of bubbly. 

This past week, we’ve also been celebrating our middle child’s graduation – along with her first job offer in her chosen career – so it feels like we’re caught in a time-warp between holding on to precious memories and excitement for what the future holds.

As I was thinking about this, I came across a post I wrote for my own blog a while back. It seems to fit the mood of the moment, so – with apologies to those of you who’ve seen it before – here goes:

Dear Lord, I’d like a few words. 

About this Ecclesiastes bloke…and his “time for everything” speech. 

Of course, it makes sense on one level: I get the idea of our lives running in seasons – well, mostly plodding, these days – and I understand the need for balance. 

It’s just that my life…isn’t. 

Balanced, I mean.

So: could we …

Wannabe Writer

‘I always wanted to be a writer.’

Well, sometimes. I think there were other ideas. But being a very impressionable young person, every now and then I got excited about Writing A Book.

When I was about nine, I heard a programme on the radio about a child called Daisy Ashford who had written a novel, The Young Visiters; extracts were read from it. The idea that a child could write a perfectly respectable book from which extracts were seriously quoted on the radio was electrifying. I decided to write something myself. What I managed to produce was The Problem Solver,  a series of scenes in the life of a man called Matthew Sturrock, who tried to solve the usually ridiculous problems that people brought to his door in response to his newspaper advertisement.

I can’t remember what inspired the next thing I wrote. In it three friends travel by magic carpet to the Land of the Dead in order to resolve a disagreement which only an acquaintance who’s died and gone there can settle. The Land of the …

How do we use our Writing? By Wendy H. Jones

Psalms 45:1 My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.
The title of this blog suggests that it is a blog by, and for, writers. This is the case, and I am sure you will be breathing a sigh of relief knowing you are in the right place. As a writer I am always struck by this verse. However, like many others I am sure, I usually focus on the last part of the verse.
If creativity has been given to us by God then, we should do everything in our power to ensure that we are good at what we do. We spend time learning our craft and developing it so that readers enjoy what we read. We attend courses, writing workshops and devour writing books. Quite rightly so. As writers who are Christian, like all writers, we want to present our work in its best light. 
As Christians the part we often forget is for whom we write. We are writing for ourselves, and our readers, but ultimately we are writing for God. Our hearts are certainl…

Happy Birthday, Grandma! By Emily Owen

Today, maybe even as you read this, I will be at a tenpin bowling party. At the beginning of this year, there began to be talk in my family: ‘What shall we do for Grandma’s 90th birthday in July?’Eventually we decided to ask her and I was duly deputed to do so. One day in April, after having lunch with my Grandma, I broached the question: “What would you like to do for your birthday, Grandma?We could book a weekend away, or go out for a meal, or…”
My flow of ideas (such as it was) was interrupted.
“Nothing. I don’t want to do anything for my birthday.I might not be alive by then anyway.”
Stumped, I chickened out and suggested we turn our attention to the crossword.
A month or so later I mentioned ‘the birthday’ again and, this time, Grandma was a bit more forthcoming: “I don’t want gifts and, whatever we do, the only thing I want is for my family to all be there.”
Once more, I reported this back to the family and we all co-ordinated diaries to be free on 22nd July.
We discussed what to do on…

Now is the time.......................Ruth Johnson

"And the Lord answered me and said, 
'Write the vision and engrave it so plainly upon tablets 
that everyone who passes may (be able to) read 
(it easily and quickly) as he hastens by.  

 For the vision is yet for an appointed time

 and it hastens to the end (fullfillment); 
it will not deceive or disappoint.  
Though it tarry wait (earnestly) for it, 
because it will surely come; 
it will not be behindhand on its appointed day."

                                           Habakkuk 2:2-3. (AMP)

I’ve written three books averaging 175,000 words each and published over a five year period, and yet the fourth book, having started in 2013 a continuation of the third, still isn’t finished. I know the beginning and the end of all six books in the series, but weaving the storyline together is always a mystery, and one I really enjoy.Last August I put time aside to write the final five chapters and prayed for inspiration. I awoke one morning with an extraordinary idea, discovered it would f…

The bells, the bells...!

You may remember that in 2013 eight new bells were installed at Notre Dame de Paris, and they were rung for the first time on 23 March, the eve of Palm Sunday. No doubt they cost a fortune, but it was deemed worth it to celebrate that iconic cathedral's 850th birthday. Apart from one - Emmanuel, the great tenor - the original bells had been melted down to make cannons during the French Revolution, and four substitutes installed in the nineteenth century were of poor quality metal and couldn't be harmonised with the remaining tenor bell.
I happened to be watching the news when the bells appeared on my TV screen, lined up in gleaming splendour all down Notre Dame's nave, and I leapt up exclaiming loudly. I felt a positively proprietorial pride because these eight bells had been made in the foundry at Villedieu-les-Poeles (literally, God's town of the pans), which is about a fifteen minute drive from our place in France, and somewhere we know well and have visited often.

Writing as a sacred journey By Claire Musters

I have recently started re-reading Sensible Shoes by Sharon Garlough Brown. Having had it (and the other books in the series) really impact me already, I am excited that our women’s book study group at church is now going through it, as well as the accompanying companion guide.
I was really struck this morning at how we as writers can be so disciplined and focused with our writing tasks but God can use writing to lure us into deeper moments with Him – either through our ‘work’ writing or when we write outside of work.
For example, I’ve been writing another Bible study guide recently, which has been particularly challenging. And yet everything I have been pulling together has spoken to me personally (isn’t that often the way?!)
I have also loved having writing tasks ‘set’ for me by Sharon’s companion guide. While I write in my journal regularly, having a spiritual director suggest I write on certain subjects, and write directly to God about things I haven’t previously, has opened up…