Crazy Christmas Hat Day!!


Hey Fellow Bloggers!

I need your help…the amazing charity I work for, Worldwide Cancer Research, is having its first Crazy Christmas Hat Day where we are encouraging people to post a selfie, donate by texting ‘Research £2’ to 70004 or by paying in online following this link and then nominating others to do the same.

If you could share, share and share again I would be sooooooooooo grateful! I know there are some amazing treatments for cancer out there but the devastating truth is one person dies of cancer every four seconds, it’s because of this we fund pioneering research all round the globe and have done so for the last thirty nine years.

Below is a photo of my gorgeous daughter Freya taking part…age is no barrier. Please help as together we can make a massive difference.IMG_3379

Thanks and have an amazing Christmas!!



Bring on the Christmas glitter!!

Merry Christmas

“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” Dr Seuss

That quote embodies my life as it only seems like yesterday I was sitting in my garden enjoying the odd bit of summer sun. How did we get to the month of December so quickly?

At the moment I am running about like a demented chicken trying to see people, buy presents, organise events, attend the MANY occasions that are on our family calendar (am so disappointed that I have already missed two!!) as well as doing all the normal, everyday things that constantly need doing.


Life is crazy and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Through those I meet I am constantly reminded life is short and fleeting. Although we all plan, pray and hope for it we are not guaranteed tomorrow so must make the most of today.

My young daughter is one of lives giver’s. Her love language is to give gifts. She enjoys giving people things (which can be quite annoying when they have only just been bought for her with my money!!), she gets great pleasure from making people feel happy, despises any type of injustice and can’t bear for people to be left out. She is incredibly loving.

If you didn’t know this about her, if you looked for the obvious ways of showing love and affection, you could easily believe she’s unloving as she doesn’t give kisses (she is horrified by the number of germs that could be on another’s lips) but if she likes/loves you she gives the best hugs as well as lots of craft! I have a box full of lovingly crafted boxes, pictures and numerous weird and wonderful bits she has made me…she is a giver.

Recently, she wrote several encouraging post it notes and placed them strategically in our house (windows, doors, my desk…) knowing I would find them. She then showed amazing patience, especially for someone who shares my genes, as she sat back and waited for me to organically discover them. Below are two of her notes.

Throughout the day as I moved around the house she followed me enquiring “do you notice anything different?” then was incredibly thrilled when I spotted her handiwork and she witnessed how it impacted and lifted me.

Never at any time did she hint there were more notes to be found although the question “do you notice anything different” gave me a strong indication!

At Christmas most of us will notice a difference. Houses are decorated with lights and ornaments, shops are more exciting and colourful, people appear happier, festive songs are played on the radio and the world has more glitter.

Christmas for some is the best time of the year, for others one of the worst and for those going through a trauma the season becomes insignificant but regardless of how you personally feel, you can’t fail to notice Christmas has arrived.

I read recently that an actress called Dale Evans is quoted as declaring “Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas.” I love this quote! I love the positivity, generosity and peacefulness it inspires.

Christmas, which came about to celebrate the birth of Jesus who gave His disciples through the ages clear instructions on the importance of love, is love in action.

Even Charles Dickens, a social reformer who wrote some of the best but most disturbing novels (five of which were about Christmas), often majored on the importance of sharing lives and showing love.

Love can take many forms dependant on personality, preference and situation but it is always an action…even if that action is as submissive as graciously accepting the particular gift someone wants to give.

So as this will (probably) be my last blog of 2017 I would like to wish you an active, merry, glitter filled Christmas!


Lavatory Door

So much happens in ladies toilets. Some of my best decisions, funniest moments and deepest conversations have been made whilst squeezed into a cubicle with a friend  (child or sister).

Recently, during a very high-powered meeting, I exited with another lady to use the ladies toilet. After being admitted through several security doors I followed my female colleague to the ladies toilet and upon entry we both went in to our separate cubicles and did what we needed to do.

I was the first to emerge and whilst washing and drying my hands I noticed there were also two urinals that appeared to be shaped for someone to sit in. When my colleague emerged I mentioned it to her and we both stepped closer to the urinals for a more thorough inspection. We speculated why they appeared to be shaped for a posterior, discussed the dynamics of a female using a urinal and after much discussion decided this was a forward thinking, sympathetic establishment that catered for trans-gender individuals.

Just as we came to this conclusion the door opened displaying very clearly a stick man figure stuck on the outside of the door and a very confused looking man entered…we were in the men’s toilet! I had followed my colleague assuming she would lead us correctly.

Similarly whilst dining with my mum and sister at the Shard my mum had a ‘panic moment’ when the door of the cubicle she was in wouldn’t open. I was washing my hands and heard frantic tugging on the door handle and immediately went to my lovely mums rescue. I knew exactly what was wrong as the same thing had happened to me…the door wasn’t stuck, it just opened outwards instead of inwards. Both my mum and myself had made a wrong assumption based on past experience.

In both of these instances an assumption had been made. Years ago, when I was a Financial Adviser, my manager would drum in to us that to assume is to ‘make an ass of u and me’.

I wonder how many of us make assumptions based on another’s appearance, accent (drives me crackers when others mimic my accent and expect me to find it amusing!!), job, home, education, children, spouse or friends.

If I had a £1 for every time I’ve been told I don’t look like a Reverend I would be a rich woman…but what does a Reverend look like?

Today I had a conversation with an incredibly intelligent, challenging lady who has seven (yes, seven!!) children regarding feminism and how it applies to us. We discussed the assumptions that were made regarding feminists and women in general and the assumptions we had both made in the past.

It was an engaging and thought provoking conversation that has shaped and honed my opinion as well as diminishing some of my assumptions…and yes it did happen in a ladies toilet!!

God Save the Queen!

Union Jack 1

Many of us have probably mimed or hummed along to our British National Anthem. Everyone knows the first line but will need to guess all of the others…a bit like Auld Lang Syne!!

The British National Anthem dates back to the eighteenth century and was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745. The words and tune are anonymous, and in total, around 140 composers, including Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms, have used the tune in their compositions.

The British National Anthem is a tune that has been on ‘repeat’ in my brain for approximately the last month, which is not something that has happened before!

It all began when a few weeks ago I woke to see my husband sitting bolt upright in bed exclaiming that something dreadful had happened. The news was saturated with the same story, as was the majority of social media. Despite the beautiful sunshine it felt like the world would never be quite the same again, not as bright and not as warm.

And I was not and am not, the only person to feel like this. We became a nation united in its determination to stand against that which sought to destroy us, as one we embraced those who had suffered and whose lives were ended or would never be the same.

The reason for the nations unity was the haunting photos of young lives prematurely ended by a terrorist bomber in Manchester that has been our worst terrorist incident since the London Train Bombing.

Many, if not all of us, would have been deeply moved and maybe shed a tear (or ten!) as we sympathised with people we have never met and in all likelihood never will.

We may have looked heavenward and prayed earnestly for God’s strength, peace and joy to fill and uphold them. To look with mercy and grace upon those souls that had expected to spend the evening screaming along to Ariana Grande and instead found themselves standing in front of Jesus Christ.

Then just as we the world started to take on a semblance of normality we had the London Bridge attack, Grenfell Tower tragedy and the attack at Finsbury Mosque. More innocent lives needlessly lost and worlds turned upside down.

Whilst I struggle to understand what would lead a person to take another’s life, my nationalistic pride has magnified as clips of policeman, fireman, doctors, nurses, celebrities and everyday heroes battling against destructive forces have been shown almost continuously. Many millions of pounds have been raised and numerous items donated as people showed love and tried to do what they could with what they have.

As it’s been written many, many times in terrorist and disaster situations we see the best and worst of humanity…we could probably add we also see the best and worst of humanity when it comes to money as Grenfell Tower highlights.

But despite the rapidly shifting landscape, the overwhelming feeling that nowhere is safe, some things remain steadfastly the same.

Our Bibles remain the infallible Word of God (2 Tim 3:16). The Holy Spirit will still fill the lives and bodies of those who invite Him in (Luke 11:9-13). Jesus remains ‘the same, yesterday and today and forever’ (Heb 13:8).

We are still to be people that grow and show good fruit (Gal 5:22-23) and acknowledge that ‘God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind’ (2 Tim 1:7) which means we listen to the truth, not the media hype.

Our commission (Matt 28:16-20) hasn’t changed and neither has the message (John 14:6). We can stand assured that John 3:16 still has the power to change lives, families, neighbourhoods, towns, cities and nations.

Our politicians are still fallible, capable of making mistakes and in desperate need of support through prayer (1 Tim 2:1-3).

Our earthly Queen still sits on her throne and our Heavenly King still rule’s eternal on His.

As hate, in it’s many disguises, tries to worm its way into our everyday existence we need to fight back with love. To accept people for who they are regardless of whether they accept us, to match actions to our words and be ‘light’ wherever we are and whomever we are with.

“Stop the world…I want to get off!!”

spinning world

Have you ever had a season, a time in your life when you want to shout ‘STOP!!’

I am in the midst of one of those seasons right now.

For the last seven years there have been so many changes. We grew from a family of two adults and two children to two adults and three children…sounds small but it has made a massive difference to how we ‘do’ life.

As a family we have moved home four times, our two eldest children in addition to this have between them moved a further seven times.

We have had one child leave home to study at university then move back again at the end of his studies then move to London, our second child then picked up the baton and is just finishing his second year in a university that is a two hours drive away.

Our youngest child has raced through not being able to walk to happily planning an imminent sleepover in minute detail. This has included writing lists and distributing to the parent who she feels is most likely to procure the desired goods in the appropriate time frame

We have had a variety of upsets with family members (some that we have known about and others that have been relayed by a third party months later) that have caused confusion and heartbreak as well as revealing our collective ‘true colours’.

Some of these upsets have been resolved with time and an earnest apology, usually echoed by all involved, others are still on going with no obvious or desirable end in sight. This has left scars.

Within my immediate family there have been many new job titles and promotions that have led to new skills being learned, luxuries being had and headaches endured.

We have watched those we love wither and die whilst simultaneously welcoming the addition of tiny feet, wet little mouths, irresistible laughter and soggy nappies.

Those that have previously appeared invincible are seeming frail and those that needed help are now the ones offering a hand of assistance.

At times we have had to watch the pennies seemingly drain from our bank account…any saving accounts we had are long gone, whilst at others we have happily sipped champagne and enjoyed dipping a toe into another lifestyle.

In short the landscape has been continually changing not with slow growth or gradual erosion but with mind spinning, unsettling madness. The landscape of 2017 is vastly different to how it looked in 2010. What made sense then would no longer make sense now.

But I am happy, I am very happy. I would never want to stop change or attempt to stand in its way. We have all experienced that ‘hello’, ‘goodbye’ and ‘see you later’ are part and parcel of life.

However, as I look back it makes me even more determined to savour every moment, to make time for those I cherish, to share the endearments that are in my heart, to enjoy the journey we call life and to welcome every new season…whatever it may bring!!

What’s in it for me?


Throughout my life I have, multiple times, been the recipient of amazing generosity. I have been on the receiving end of others giving and expecting nothing back. As Pastors receiving one salary between two we have received envelopes stuffed with money through our letterbox and smuggled in to my handbag on more than one occasion. This has always arrived at times of desperate need and has been an amazing and humbling experience.

We have also been on the receiving end of others being generous with their time, affection and support, which has been an absolute lifeline.

Unshackled generosity with our finances, time, emotions and belongings has for many years been something my husband and I quietly practise, so in order to keep it quiet I won’t elaborate any further.

Recently I was told an act of generosity from another was about to be cashed in, which was a surprise as I didn’t realise I had an outstanding debt! This ‘demand’ reminded me of an act of shackled generosity I recently read about.

It is a story about six Royal Palm trees that had been vandalized and cut down along a busy road in Miami. Due to the expense involved in replacing them the relevant county wasn’t sure how soon, if ever, they would be replaced.

Then along came a generous donation of six new trees. Not only were the trees paid for they were even planted by the donor.

The former trees had been fifteen feet tall and formed a beautiful foreground for a “Fly Delta” billboard. The new trees were thirty-five feet tall and now hid the billboard completely. The donor of the trees was Eastern Airlines.

Our culture, our society promotes thinking only about self.

Ravi Zacharias, during a conference in Ohio, reputedly shared a story about a successful businessman whose grandson asked him for some advice on what it takes to be a success. The grandfather gave him three words, “Others. Others. Others.”

I wonder how many of us really live that way. Serving others, giving to others in unshackled acts of generosity?

What’s in a week?


Well what a week!

I have comfortably travelled on trains for approximately sixteen hours without being abused, inappropriately touched or engaged in any inane conversations.

It was close but I narrowly escaped being arrested in Pound Stretcher following an incident with some plasters…I maintain my innocence!!

With sadness I said ‘adieu’ to two lovely ladies I wish I’d had the opportunity to know in a more profound way.

Ploughed through 400+ emails and reserved my place on two separate courses.

Repeatedly gazed and proudly shared the photos of my stunningly gorgeous niece celebrating her thirteenth birthday.

Ate cake and drank tea with about one hundred people all gathered to celebrate the 90th birthday of a charming and handsome gentleman.

Sang ‘Always look on the bright side of life’ through tears, whilst waving my arms and standing united with my colleagues in order to honour a living hero.

Finally committed to a long awaited brunch with good friends…yum.

Got excited about swimming whilst simultaneously drowning in paperwork.

Compiled an unexpected school presentation for a group of teens and prepared a power point for a gathering of pensioners.

Committed to helping organise a festival, potentially two art exhibitions, two sponsored walks, one online auction, a spiritual retreat and a comedy evening.

Fell off the diet wagon AGAIN, it’s a really rocky ride, and consumed three hot chocolates as well as backsliding and adding sugar to my tea…the shame!!

As if this wasn’t an adequate amount of activity I also walked upon virgin snow and purchased my first ever car!! Two weeks ago I passed my driving test and after many hours scouring what automobiles fitted my visual and financial needs, comparing and contrasting different makes and models and perusing owner forums, I made my purchase.

This has been the cherry on a rather fine cake, the nervous laugh breaking through intense silence or, if you prefer, the jewel in a somewhat splendid crown.

It wasn’t without a substantial dollop of stress that I handed over a large (large for me!) amount of money and for the first time EVER drove in the rain, in the dark whilst following another driver (my husband) to a mutual destination…nerve wracking!

But so far it has all been worth it and I am pleased to say I am the immensely proud owner of a shiny black BMW 1 Series M Sport…yeah baby!

Words, words and more words!!


This week a word was used to describe me that made me do a double take. It wasn’t an insulting or offensive word, it wasn’t said in a nasty tone, but I was mildly affronted.

I thought I had made a genuine impression, had a reasonably deep connection with this individual when they applied this word to me. We had laughed, shared stories, made plans, shared hurts, we had gone beyond pleasantries when the word made an appearance.

It’s a word that I’d connect with vanilla ice cream, ready salted crisps, warm water, salted popcorn, plain rice and mash potatoes…in short the type of thing you have if nothing else is available.

It’s the type of word you’d apply when viewing someone’s house, sampling a desert dry cake or admiring a child’s painting and you can’t think of anything positive to say.

Almost like a ‘make do’, bland, tasteless, meaningless, left over type of word: a word to be found in the junkyard of words.

Which made me think about the power of words and the way they can affect us. With Valentines Day fast approaching the word LOVE immediately sprang to mind. I can remember the first time my husband uttered those three little words, “I LOVE YOU”, and how my heart almost escaped from my chest and a million butterflies took flight in my belly.

How heart breaking it would have been for him if instead of replying “I LOVE YOU” right back, I mumbled “I DON’T LOVE YOU”. The appearance of one word, DON’T, changing the meaning of the whole sentence.

Another word that carries so much power is the word THEREFORE. I have recently preached on the Book of Philemon and the Apostle Paul’s use of the word THEREFORE. The way THEREFORE connects a strong affirmation of Philemon’s personal characteristics followed by the behaviour he expects from him, massive meaning contained within one little nine-letter word.

Then comes the famous BUT. You’re doing really well BUT, I think you’re great BUT, I would like to help BUT. How many of us have had great conversations immediately slayed by the killer BUT?

Another two words that can propel or postpone us are PASS and FAIL. This week I passed my driving test and am ecstatic, over the moon, elated, relieved and deliriously happy. I almost hugged the examiner but held back and replaced physical touch with verbal gushing’s. She was embarrassed and horrified…the power of words!!!

YES and NO elicit similar reactions to PASS and FAIL and can be just as positive or destructive.

The spoken word has the power to tear us down, stop us in our tracks and leave scars that last a lifetime. On the contrary they can also build us up and inspire us to achieve greater feats than we ever dared to dream.

Conversely the most powerful words can be rendered powerless if the eyes, body language and tone of voice don’t match what’s being said. Ever had someone say sorry to you grudgingly, with glaring eyes, hunched shoulders and a clipped tone?

I read this anonymous quote an thought it incredibly apt “Words start wars and end them, create love and choke it, bring us to laughter and joy and tears. Words cause men and women to willingly risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Our world, as we know it, revolves on the power of words.”

Words are powerful and have a longer lasting effect than most give them credit for. They stick in our head, and often unwittingly, come pouring out of our mouths.

They are living entities and evolve with each new generation and different location.

If you’re wondering what the word used to describe me was, it was…NICE! Bland, flavourless, boring…zzzzzzz!

But, if I put aside my insipid connotations of this word and focus on the persons tone, body language and the expression in their eyes it really was quite a compliment…thanks!!

Whose got the power??


I read something recently that has really stuck with me…I might even have read it on another person’s blog (if I have please let me know and I’ll happily credit you).

The sentence I read is incredibly simple, not particularly profound and glaringly obvious. When I tell you what it is some, maybe the majority of you, will think ‘so what!’

If I’m honest I’m not even too sure why it has stuck with me…maybe its something to do with the time of the year.

The sentence I read contained the words ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’.

This got me thinking about the difference between being a wife and a girlfriend and the realisation a lot more effort was made when I was a girlfriend (by both me and my husband) although my value is surely more as a wife if we stand by the belief that marriage is forever.

And I’m not being sexist as you could reverse this and say surely if marriage is for keeps, my husbands value is more as a husband than a boyfriend despite the fact more effort was made when he was simply a boyfriend.

Just as a caveat in case anyone starts to get worried we are VERY happily married but I no longer shower, brush my teeth, wear my best clothes or re-do my make up before I meet him. During my wife period he has seen me in shrunken pyjamas, smeared make up from the night before and hair so lank and flat, a mop head seems attractive!

And then I started to think back to before I was ever a girlfriend although there were obviously other titles such as friend, daughter, sister that I owned. What expectations did I place upon myself? Do I still have these expectations? Were these expectations ever realised or realistic?

I began to think back to the ‘effort’ I poured into me before I had the opportunity to transfer this energy to my husband and three children. Although at times (homework, housework, personal life, career and general self improvement) I’m sure they would rather my energy had been directed away from them!!

And it brought me right back to that initial sentence ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’ and I realised that before I was anything to anyone else I was a daughter.

I was a daughter to my amazing parents whom I have so much to be grateful for…love, support, encouragement, discipline etc. I know most people think they have the best parents but I can honestly say that despite the small mistakes they made (I didn’t come with a manual so mistakes are to be expected…made a few myself!!) my parents are the best!!

And even before I was a daughter to my mum and dad I was a daughter of God and inheritor of all that He promises for His children.

And if I acknowledge that, I have to embrace that at the same time God created me I became uniquely me, a human snowflake; here for a short while and inimitable. I belong to me. I am ultimately responsible for me. I predominantly get to determine the path I choose to walk. Despite similarities no one on Earth will ever be exactly like me. Just like no one on Earth will ever be exactly like you. That is quite simply the way God made us to be.

My reaction and action to others treatment of me, be it good or bad, is my responsibility. Emotional baggage I choose to hold onto is a choice I’ve made. My weight, be it over, under or just right is my responsibility. Another’s attitude towards me is not my responsibility but how I deal with the way it affects me is.

When it comes to me, as Snap sung back in 1990 ‘I’ve Got The Power”. I just need to remember that and assert said power, not over others, but over myself.

Sometimes I know I’ve been guilty of assuming responsibility for another instead of helping them be empowered, effectively using their power to bolster my own. And conversely there have been times when I’ve allowed a power thief access to my reserves and have stood by whilst they raided essential parts of me.

Which brings me back to ‘before you was a wife you were a girlfriend’ and how I want to be identified…not by others because ultimately their opinion is secondary. But what labels, what titles, what markers of identity (if any), I want to pin upon myself.

Rainbow is the New Green…

In April 2016 we made, despite all objections, the monumental decision to enlarge our family. Whilst we had been happily coasting as a fully functioning family of five and had become attuned to each other’s wants, needs and foibles, it was decided we would numerically expand.

We looked at our options, discussed the impact it would make and restrictions we would now need to consider. Then we bit the bullet and bought two rabbits…we became a family of seven (five humans and two incredibly cute bunnies).

Both rabbits were incredibly cute but very shy. My daughter Freya named them Floppy and Spotty and spent hours singing to them, trying to stroke them, sitting in their specially built run whilst they played, fed them carrots and generally tried to bond.

One of the rabbits, Spotty – who now resembles the large rabbit from the movie Watership Down, responded and although still shy, will let Freya pet her.

The smaller, feistier rabbit Floppy continually treated all who came into contact with her as the enemy. She would attack poor Spotty; we had to separate them, and would hide from all of us.

Floppy proved to be an amazing escape artist, and would escape from any run we placed her in by burrowing under or climbing, yes climbing, over!

Eventually escaping from a run wasn’t a big enough challenge for Floppy and she began to gnaw her way through her wooden hutch and metal grille. Escaping seemed to become an obsession with her as whilst sitting in our living room, which is about forty foot away from her hutch, we could hear her trying to kick her way out!!

We tried to restrain her in a number of creative ways but she bit through them all. After numerous times of chasing her round our garden, getting stung by nettles, missing meetings and being soaked by the rain we decided that the next time she escaped we’d let her go. That as we’d always had reserves about animals being in cages, if she wanted her freedom that much we wouldn’t get in her way (not any more!).

So the next time Floppy escaped we made no attempt to catch her, we watched as she hopped around the garden, we hoped that she would be safe but we let her hop free. Emotionally we said our goodbyes!

The next morning we checked our garden (all the while praying she hadn’t met a nasty end) and saw her sitting outside her hutch. As I have never been able to catch her (she’s fast!!), my husband went out in his pyjamas picked her up and returned her to the soft hay, toys, bowl of food and accessible water that was her home.

We made the decision not to repair the hole she has made which means Floppy can escape again whenever she wants…there is no obstacle in her way.



But the funny thing is since her night of freedom Floppy hasn’t wanted to escape. She pops her head through the hole but that’s as far as she goes. It’s almost as if the challenge has now gone and now she knows she can have it (freedom), she no longer wants it.

I love a saying; a cliché, and this made me think of one of my favourites, ‘the grass is greener on the other side’.

I know there are lots of examples where this can be true and one situation is a better situation than the current one (for example, a healthy relationship versus an abusive one) but as human beings I wonder if we always want what we don’t have?

That in wanting the grass we don’t currently have and perceive to be greener, we are placing personal unhappiness with ourselves onto something outside of us. We rely on polishing our external environment to soothe a deeper internal dissatisfaction.

I’m not trying to psychoanalyse my rabbit (!) but wonder if the cliché should be changed to “Green grass needs maintenance” or “Rainbow is the new green”.

What do you think? What clichés have been key to your life or what sayings would you rephrase to make them more personally applicable?