Showing posts from 2017

Are you a leader or a follower?

Have you ever been on an organised walk? I remember quite a few from my youth. Walking in a group is different from walking alone or with one other person. There are likely to be people, who prefer to walk quickly and others, whose speeds are slow and stop. Someone is needed to be the back-marker and might need a companion. When they have caught up, the group can continue – although the slowest might appreciate a short breather! Over-enthusiastic youngsters may overtake the official leader and receive a reprimand. There may be no apparent danger and no fork in the path, but the leader has to go in front for the safety of the whole group. Hopefully this person has prepared in advance, knows the route, is able to set a sensible pace and organise appropriate rests if it is a long hike. As this post is for publication on New Year’s Eve, I have been thinking about my goals for the year ahead. I am easily distracted and become less focused than I’d like to be on the things, wh

Selling Your Books Online

Do you have a website? Do you sell your books via it? How much hassle is it? I've tried selling various things online over the years, including a drama course, to no real effect. I've built websites, hooked up with Amazon and tried eBay. The problem I faced in those days, 10-15 years ago, was the lack of support and having to do most things myself while having kids around and, for part of the time at least, a full time job. I've been looking at it again recently, and not just self publishing via Amazon. Things have changed. A lot. In 2018 you can get a good online presence for a small(ish) cost and look professional while doing so. The likes of Amazon, eBay and several others across the world are no longer just shops, but are now shopping centres and are always looking for new stores to slot into their expanding online presence. During this research, I came across short series of articles on the BBC website about online selling which provide a lot of good advice whic

Christmas Favourites

What heralds the start of Christmas? Definitely not the relentless advertising, which starts earlier each year.  I pitied the staff of my Tescos Express a year or so ago when Christmas songs were playing constantly from November!  One member of staff told me by the time Christmas came, they were sick of the music.  Understandably so I think.  I started writing this on 12th December. Tescos haven’t started the music yet.  I’ve been told there will be some just for the few days leading up to Christmas.  If only everyone would do that with the advertising… Black Friday goes against the spirit of Christmas I feel.  Image via Pixabay. For me, Christmas begins with the singing of the first carol (usually Oh Come, Oh Come Immanuel ), the first sighting of a Salvation Army band (this time I spotted them at Waterloo Station on my return from my publisher’s celebration event), and discovering it is time, once again, to resist eating mince pies for as long as possible!  Those get put ou

Closing the Folio of The Year by Trevor Thorn

A long-lasting bubble on a leaf:  image evoking thoughts on the passing of time Comes the time to close the folio of the year. To revisit the leaves that dropped day-after-day, since earth’s last new circuit of our life-giving star, piled a deep rug of experiences in multi-hued array Your experiences, your community’s experiences, the experiences of the whole world, great and small gradually infusing greens, yellows, orange, reds and browns as some leaves, gently, and others abruptly fall. Some joy, some sadness, some anger, some elation, some excitement, some anxieties, some welcome relaxation; and that branch, which formerly bore your personal assertions and transformations. Whatever flurries caused the foliage to fall around you, events both sombre and fair, look back to the moments it has been good to be thankful - and offer thanks - for these are the sap and the buds for next year’s prayer.

Hidden Saints, by Eve Lockett

Some books are famous for their first lines. George Eliot’s Middlemarch is famous for its last. She is talking about her heroine, Dorothea, who possessed such idealistic high hopes and aspirations to be of benefit to mankind; and in the end lived a modest, though not unfruitful, life. George Eliot gives her this immortal testimony: But the effect of her being on those around her was incalculably diffusive: for the growing good of the world is partly dependent on unhistoric acts; and that things are not so ill with you and me as they might have been, is half owing to the number who lived faithfully a hidden life, and rest in unvisited tombs. Today is St Stephen’s Day, though for most of us it goes unnoticed, being cast firmly into the background by Christmas. It is even known by another name, Boxing Day. Stephen is regarded as the first Christian martyr, and we read his story in Acts. In his life and in his death, he served those other than himself. He was chosen to be an a

The Coming of the Light

Well, here we are again. For me, the Christmas season feels more frenetic every year, despite all my good intentions about having everything organised down to the last sprout. One of the things God has been reminding me of this year, however, is that the world that Jesus was born into wasn't perfect, either. And I've wondered how it all would have looked from Mary's perspective... How did it feel, to trudge the miles, That led to Bethlehem And only find an ox’s byre With room to shelter them? In darkness and obscurity She laboured long that night; Her cries of anguish heralding The coming of the Light. Through sweat and bloody toil, the child Was born: a baby boy Who nuzzled gently at her breast As Joseph wept with joy. Then finally, her ragged tears Gave way to raw delight, As cradled in her arms she saw The coming of the Light. What did she think when shepherd folk Came knocking at the door? Was she surpris

Hidden Stories 5—Trial and Redemption

I’ve been digging buried stories out of the Letter of James, but this is not really a hidden story. I have invented it as an imaginary background to the teaching of chapters 1 and 5. I hope that you will enjoy it as the conclusion to the saga of Sophron the follower of Mashiach Yeshua. Part 1 Sophron bar Zakkai, the former assistant pastor at the Synagogue of Mashiach Yeshua, the former owner of a flourishing business in the Jerusalem market, the former suitor of the Widow Hannah, has come to see Elder Yakob and seek his counsel. He’s in very low spirits. ‘Brother Yakob, I am sick—exhausted, weak, feverish. My whole world has collapsed. The bar Yehuda brothers have ruined me! They are cheats, thieves, persecutors! They have stolen my whole business—premises, stock, and all. The men to whom I owed money are servants of theirs—I didn’t know!—and they got them all to force me to pay my debts at the same time. The court upheld their case. I couldn’t afford to hire a clever advocate