Lent challenge

Lent Challenge – “Remember”

Today’s Lent challenge prompt is “Remember” and I chose to share with you a piece of needlework I remember doing when I was a new mother. I had a baby who was a couple of weeks old and a husband who was working on permanent night shifts when I made this in cross-stitch. The verse is one that I need to remind myself of every now and again when I feel that things are going against me, and it makes me remember the One who creates all and provides all.




Lent challenge

Lent Challenge – “Learn”

Today I start this year’s Lent Challenge as described by the Bible Society. Today’s prompt is “Learn”, and they ask that we share a photo of something which represents that. Here is my photo:


Intercessions For The Last Sunday Before Lent

It was my privilege to lead my church’s intercessions this morning (St Paul’s in Blackley) and I wondered if you might like to share them with us?  

Let us pray for the church and our world:

Heavenly father you promised to hear us when we pray in faith. We bring before you now those things on our hearts as we open ourselves to you.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer


We pray for the church around the world. For those who face hatred and violence for their faith, for those whose churches are under threat, for those who put their lives at risk to declare their Christian faith.

We pray for the General Synod who are meeting at this time and we ask for your loving guidance in the difficult discussions held and the decisions that are made there now. Bless the members, remind them of your unfailing love, and remind them that you Lord are at the heart of all they do.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our community here in Blackley. For those who call this place home and for all who visit or pass through. May your face be seen here in the works and actions of all Blackley people, in acts of kindness, hospitality, friendship and love.

We pray for those who are facing health issues or who are worried about loved ones, especially those who are waiting a diagnosis or who are waiting for treatment.

We pray for those whose lives are blighted by debt, addiction, poverty, anger and all the things that make it difficult to feel loved by you father. We ask that as members of this church we stand as beacons of hope in an uncertain world for many. We give thanks for the mission opportunity of Messy Church, Stay and Play, and all our interactions with our schools and for everything we attempt either in groups or as individuals to reach out to others in your name. We ask your continued blessing on all that we do.

Lord in your mercy, hear our prayer

We pray for our world. For those who seek to find peace, for those who work to protect our environment, for those who run into troubled areas as others flee from them.

During this fortnight of Winter Olympics, we ask your blessing on those who seek to unite people – looking at the examples set by the united team of North and South Korea, the Russian athletes competing under the Olympic flag, the myriad examples of hospitality to foreign nations shown by the hosts and so much more. Our world can appear to be a broken place, but we ask you Lord to remind us that in your love, we are one people and we offer our thanks to those who put themselves at risk of violence or ridicule when they try to bring about healing and change.

Merciful father, accept these prayers for the sake of your son, our saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.




Daybook Entry – 8th February

For Today… 8th February

Looking out my window… it’s raining and we are forecast more snow overnight.

I am thinking… about submitting a short story to a competition. But which one? And which competition?

I am thankful… that I managed to finish my assignment today. A screenplay of just the right length (15 minutes), a commentary that was plumb on the 1000 word limit and a proposal for my final piece which was also bob on the 300 word limit. Actually, I’m not so much thankful as rather smug this evening!

One of my favourite things… is making a game out of deadlines and word counts.

I am creating… some crotchet blanket squares. I’m trying a new pattern which hopefully will look like a Celtic knot, but it’s a bit tricky so far.

I am wearing… long legged pyjama bottoms in bed at the minute. It’s a bit cold out there isn’t it?

I am reading … the new Elly Griffiths book which was delivered to my Kindle today. It is the latest in the Ruth Galloway series, which I love. Book review coming up.

I am praying… for healing in certain quarters. The Lord knows where.

I am learning… how to write effective (and hopefully interesting) screenplay.

In my kitchen… it’s the week before payday so we had one of our standby favourites tonight. Pasta, chorizo, peas and prawns with a bit of cheese on top. Delish!

Post Script… this week is the hundredth anniversary of the Act of Parliament that allowed certain women the right to vote in the UK. I wrote a post about it the other day and what it means for us in our society today. I’d love it if you would have a little read for me and leave me a comment on it. I want to have a conversation in particular about what the notion of “equality” means for us in our society today.

Closing Notes… I was sent a link to this video a few days ago and we sang it tonight at study group. It’s based on Psalm 92 and I thought you might like to have a listen too. Enjoy Graham Kendrick singing one of his new songs




Psalm 103

The beautiful words of Psalm 103 have helped me today. They reminded me that yes, there are things wrong in my life and there are things I want to fix, heal, mend and restore, but I can’t do it on my own.

Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
    and forget not all his benefits –
who forgives all your sins
    and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
    and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
    so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.


Praise him indeed, for it’s only in God’s hands that life becomes life.


My Song Is Love Unknown

We sang “My Song Is Love Unknown” tonight at Bible study, and I was struck by a couple of lines.

Here is a link to the hymn as sung by the King’s College, Cambridge Choir and below is a photograph of the bit that stood out for me.

I love this hymn for many reasons, and depending on when we sing it and at what festival or occasions, different things speak to me at different times. Tonight I was struck by verse 5:

Especially the lines that describe how the Prince of Life (Jesus) went cheerfully to his suffering (I’m paraphrasing slightly). When we sang it, it made me think of two things: first, that Jesus would do that for us, to die for us, and second, that no matter what our lot in life, no matter how difficult our circumstances or tasks ahead, we can take heart from the fact that when Jesus went to the cross for us, he did so “cheerfully”. If he can do that for us, what can we do for others in that same attitude?

The burdens we are given to bear are nothing like the burden Jesus carried for us, and yet we struggle, grumble, complain and fight against them. The lesson here in this hymn is that if he can do that for us, we owe it to him to bear our own burdens just as cheerfully and willingly.



Daybook Entry 28th January 2018

For Today 28th January 2018

Looking out my window… one could almost imagine Spring is round the corner. Having said that, the weather forecast is said to go down to -9oC again this week. Brrr….

I am thinking… that the throat infection and flu I had over Christmas didn’t fully go away. I have had a pretty rough night last night and day today with swollen glands, fever, sore throat, aches and pains – oh my word the pains! I have just about had my morning shower (and it’s nearly bedtime now).

I am thankful… for the simple medication of paracetamol and the wonders it does.

One of my favourite things… is seeing the Spring flowers poking their heads up.

I am creating… a film script exploring different angles of “loss”.

I am wearing… my favourite rainbow crocheted blanket round my legs. For comfort more than warmth.

I am reading … “A Game of Thrones” by George R R Martin. Yes, I know. I am one of the 0.1% of the population who has either never seen the show nor read the book!

I am praying… for healing in a world of brokenness.

I am learning… that “showing” and “telling” work differently in real life than they do when writing drama and prose.

In my kitchen… Kevin made our dinner tonight, a lovely chicken “stewp”. It was halfway between a soup and a stew and absolutely delicious.

Post Script… It is four weeks now until the annual brass band “Area” contests take place, and we are well into rehearsals preparing for our performance at Pemberton Band. The “Areas” are qualifying competitions that are held each year in different areas of the country, and the winners of each section go through to a national final held later in the year. The Pemberton Band organisation is in the North West of England, so we compete in the North West Area contest, held in Blackpool. Ours is the first one this year, and the Yorkshire Area is held the week afterwards, with others around the country over the following weeks.

The bands who compete are graded according to their ability, with the best bands competing in the Championship Section, down to the Fourth Section (a bit like the Premier League down to the Second Division in football). Each section has a designated piece of music to perform on the day – the same pieces across the country – which are more and more difficult the higher up the sections they are played in. So, the Fourth Section piece is usually quite straightforward and tests bands on their attention to the “basics” of individual and ensemble playing rather than technical skill and as the sections go higher, the pieces get more technically difficult.  We are lucky at Pemberton that we have two competing bands – the “A” band (mine, which competes in the Championship section) and the “B” band in the section below, as well as a youth band and a training band.

The pieces are chosen by a panel during the summer and are announced at the finals in September  so that all competing bands have the same amount of time to prepare them.  There is always contention about the selected pieces being either “too difficult”, “too easy”, “not a test of skill”, “no music” in them and so on, and some pieces suit some bands more than others depending on the strengths or weaknesses as individual players and as an ensemble. The piece we are rehearsing at Pemberton is called “Odyssey” and it is technically quite a challenge to me as a player even with all the years of my experience. I’ll let you know how we get on.

A moment from my day…


Meet Terry, the terrapin. He’s our adopted pet. I wasn’t too keen on him to begin with, especially when we were told that he would outlive us, but when you look at the exquisite detail on his skin and on his shell, how can you not love him? I could tell you about his little “moods” – which is something to behold, him being a reptile and all. But I can read him like a book and I know when he’s hungry, when he’s playful and when he’s bored. He lives in water but we get him out of the tank every now and again to dry him off completely and to allow him room to roam round the house. He is great in the garden when it’s sunny and quite often brings himself back in and heads for his tank on his own. He loves prawns. And carrots (don’t ask how we found that out…)

Closing thoughts… I am so fed up of feeling ill now – I wish this flu bug would just GO AWAY!!!