Showing posts from September, 2017

The Mental Problem

As some of you may know, I suffer from depression. Serious depression. Some days are good, others are bad, and if it wasn't for medication it's quite likely I wouldn't be alive. It affects each sufferer differently, and to different degrees, but there are similarities that we all suffer from An inability to do the simplest things, even though you have time. This could be tidying your bedroom, doing the washing or even making a sandwich. Anxiety over small things, even though you know they are irrelevant. There are some days you feel everyone's out to get you, the doctors aren't trying hard enough, or people are having a go at you for no reason. Isolation. If no one understands, you have no one to turn to. When you are a writer, a lonely profession at the best of times, these things can stack up and overwhelm you. I have a full time job and write in the evenings or at weekends, so I don't get out much. While this is not helping, I have to add that whe

Changing Seasons

Do you dread the changing of the seasons or welcome them? Autumn Colours  Image via Pixabay. My maternal grandmother hated autumn.  She saw it as the season when everything died and, ironically perhaps, passed away one September. I love autumn and know, without this season, and winter, we cannot have another spring.  There must be a cycle.  It is easier to focus on the “jollier” times of year with that lovely light, no early dark evenings, fog or heavy rain.  But we need these things if only to appreciate the nicer aspects of nature more. Autumn Reflections.  Image via Pixabay. The comparison with the Christian cycle for me is to recognise, for all the joy of Easter Sunday, there must be the agony of the cross on Good Friday first.  There were no shortcuts for our Lord and we shouldn’t expect any.  I do though!  If we were given a choice as to whether we go through painful situations, wouldn’t we always choose the “no thanks” option?  It is as well this is out of our ha

For Amazement by Beauty: A song of the senses by Trevor Thorn

This song of praise tries to convey the richness of the experiences of our senses Composition: ‘Stitched segments of  Neural pathways diagram' ( This is intended to be sung: Suggested Tune: Sans day carol - without chorus) For amazement by beauty we give you our praise; for the patterns that form in our neural pathways.  Our brains stimulated  by wonder and awe:  for glimpses of glory, we thank you, dear Lord. For the marvel of colour deriving from light, and heightening each image    revealed by our sight.    For spirited hues  that emotion arouse. Give thanks for the splendours our vision bestows.  For delight in the fragrance of blossom and herbs, as we breathe in the glories of nectars and oils: some heady, some soothing, some prized for their power to promote our well-being with root, leaf or flower. For the myriad touches that make us aware, of the soft, smooth or yielding, of the hard, harsh or spare.

A Change is as Good as a Rest by Rebecca Seaton

As a teacher, I look forward to the summer as a chance to relax, recharge and catch up on things which need doing. I usually divide the six weeks into a short break or two, household chores, school work and catching up with friends and family. This summer was slightly different. I received a last-minute invitation to visit friends in Australia – for a month. Although I always enjoy my six-week break, the reality is that things like jobs around the house and school work (and TV shows, if I’m honest) can all distract me from my writing. Suddenly, I was faced with the prospect of both time and an unexpected location.      While I was away, I also took a book a friend had given me: The Bloomsbury Introduction to Creative Writing by Tara Mokhtari. In it, she discusses the concept of ‘focused procrastination’. The idea that my daily tasks and mental wanderings could help me work out where to go with my WIP was encouraging.      I soon found I could spend a happy morning walking

Calling and purpose, by Eve Lockett

The Calling of Peter and Matthew, Ravenna - There are so many ways we can fulfil our calling in Christ as writers. Our natural talent for writing, our love of words, our imaginations, can be used to serve Christ in so many ways. And it could well change as time goes on – our original calling can develop and be transformed. Peter was a fisherman by skill, by training, by natural aptitude and by trade. Jesus transformed Peter’s fishing. Peter had spent a wasted night, catching nothing. Jesus called Peter to ‘go out deeper’ and try again. This time the abundance of fish was overwhelming. Clearly, Jesus had the power to enhance Peter’s career as a fisherman. But he transformed it into another calling altogether. Peter left his nets and moved on to a new calling. For three years, he followed Jesus as his disciple, a fisher of men. But then came another calling. This time, the risen Lord Jesus called him to be a shepherd! ‘Feed my sheep’, Jesus said. Peter became

Everyday learning? by Fiona Lloyd

There’s a scene near the beginning of Ursula Le Guin’s book, A Wizard of Earthsea, where the newly-apprenticed wizard Sparrowhawk is discouraged by the amount of time he spends performing apparently mundane tasks. “When will my training actually begin?” he asks Ogion, his master.   Ogion’s answer is short, and surprising. “It has begun,” he says. This is wholly unsatisfactory to the hot-headed and impetuous Sparrowhawk, who subsequently takes ship to the wizard school on Roke at the earliest opportunity. It is only many years later, when he looks back on his time with Ogion, that he recognises the less tangible lessons – and deeper understanding – that his former tutor wanted to mentor.  I recently read a quote (which I think was from Dallas Willard) which talked about discipleship not just being a Sunday thing. He argued that if we are taking our spiritual growth seriously, then what happens during the rest of the week is equally important. If we can’t learn ho

Hidden Stories 2—Words and Deeds

Last month, in Rich man, poor man , I mentioned that while, in the Gospel parables, teaching is hidden inside a story, in the Letter of St James, there are stories hidden inside the teaching. I thought I’d share another little story with you, this time based on chapters 2 and 3. I hope you won’t mind that it’s a bit longer. Part 1 It’s the Sabbath after the one when Elder Yakob gave Brother Sophron a rather painful telling-off. Sophron is again on the bema of the synagogue that he helps to run, the one that broke away from the Jerusalem community to follow Yeshua Mashiach. Worship has just ended. That well-dressed stranger with all the rings who came last week didn’t come back. Sophron is disappointed about this, but two other things are very cheering. Firstly, Elder Yakob isn’t there either: perhaps his rheumatism is playing up. And even better, the chap with shabby clothes has come again, despite Sophron’s curtness last time, and has obviously profited by his visit. He joine