Thursday, 27 December 2007

A new blog is born!

So I was visiting a site on Wordpress and I had to register to be able to enter that particular one. And in the process I inadvertently got myself a new blog...

I am quite excited :o)

I'm gonna use it to talk more about parenting (and anything vaguely related to my experiences as a Mummy) - as it is obviously a topic which is quite very relevant in my life.

Seriously though, I am totally passionate about the importance of good, God-appointed parenting in our society and so I hope this will be a useful tool and platform for discussion - as well as being a place where I can rant in peace!!!

You're welcome to drop by and add me to your 'blogroll', or leave me a comment to say hello, or whatever.

You would make my day.

Not that I'm desperate or anything.

PS: Uh, it would be helpful if I left a link to it, wouldn't it?!?! Duh...
Here it is.

Monday, 24 December 2007

Merry Christmas one and all!!

The tree is bedecked with all fashion of twinkly and sparkly things, and looks inviting tonight...
The Crib has taken centre stage and is topped with Star of royal beauty bright...

So please join us in celebrating the birth of Jesus, the One who came to us: the Light!

Monday, 17 December 2007

Elves of Baughurst

Any of you out there know this??
Have a look at what my 4 boys look like as elves.
Suits them rather, methinks... ;D
Go on! Have a giggle on me! You know you want to!!

Friday, 14 December 2007

"Stained Glass Masquerade" (Casting Crowns) - Integrity Part II

I have just received "Lifesong", an album by Casting Crowns. I am wowed by the accuracy, the wisdom and perception of the lyrics in each song; but maybe this song, more than any of the others, is particularly poignant and indeed powerful for me because this is an issue I struggle with on a daily basis; I think if we're honest - we've all been there!! And the 'non-churched' all too often accuses the Church of 'hypocrisy' and rightly so. So this song is a call to us who love Jesus to BE REAL instead of hiding, pretending...and masquerading as something or someone we're not.

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today feelin' so small
Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away, like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it, maybe I'll believe it too
So with a painted grin,
I play the part again
So everyone will see me the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain
But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
On our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would the love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

If you would like to hear and 'see' the song, here is a link to one of the many videos set to this song on YouTube.)

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Purpose Driven Wisdom for Today - Faith Weathers Every Storm

My life feels a little bit like a storm at the moment and has done for the last few months, with calm periods nonetheless. I liked the devotional I received today from the Purpose Driven team and have decided to share it here in its entirety, as it speaks well of what I feel God would teach us when we go through storms. Thank you Lord for your timely reminders, day after day, that you are in control!!

Faith Weathers Every Storm
by Mark Kelly

“Anyone who listens to my teaching and obeys me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears my teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash.” (Matthew 7:24-27 NLT)

A hurricane rages off the ocean onto land. Winds in excess of 150 mph and a powerful storm surge blast the village that sits on the beach, splintering bamboo huts and throwing the pieces in every direction. But in the midst of the destruction, one house weathers the storm intact. The difference? This house is solidly built with a foundation set down into the bedrock. The roof is gone, but not even a Category 5 storm is going to shake the foundation.

All of us know firsthand about the storms in life. Relationship problems. Financial setbacks. Betrayals of trust. Health crises. The awful consequences of bad choices. Everywhere we turn, we see lives and families destroyed by a storm. God’s desire, however, is that our lives and relationships survive the storms because of a strength that fills us from within. That power is released when we step out in faith and let Jesus live his strong life in us. The switch that turns on the power is obedience.

The wise soul is someone who not only listens to what Jesus teaches but also builds her life on the foundation of obedience, allowing Jesus’ powerful message to make a real difference. The foolish soul doesn’t apply Jesus’ wisdom to the way he lives. The difference is revealed when the storms of life rage. The person who lives by God’s Word can withstand any storm.

PRAYER: Lord, it seems like the wind never lets up. Some days it blows so hard I don’t think I can stand it anymore. Please fill me with the strength of your Spirit. Help me find the peaceful spot in the eye of the storm – the confidence that comes from trusting you and walking in your ways.

POINT TO PONDER: “Walking the walk” is what matters, not “talking the talk.

© 2007 Jon Walker. All rights reserved.

Friday, 7 December 2007

More Mad Wibbzes

Surely it's time for some more photos, to lighten the mood a little?
Here are some funny, some crazy, some tender, some...interesting shots of the Wibbzes at play - mostly.
Brace yourselves!!

And in case you were wondering: yes I do occasionally join in...

Monday, 3 December 2007

Strength for today, bright hope for tomorrow

E'en for the dead I will not bind my soul to grief;
Death cannot long divide.
For is it not as though the rose that climbed my garden wall
Has blossomed on the other side?
Death does hide
But not divide;
You are but on Christ's other side!
You are with Christ, and Christ is with me;
In Christ united still are we.

Thank you all one and all for your messages of love and prayers! Even those of you who don't comment - I know you are there :0) and I am grateful for you.
I found this verse at the end of today's reading in 'Streams in the Desert'. I think it sums up what I might have wanted to say about my state of mind as I slowly try and return to normality after the depths of sorrow I expererienced last week.
I would also love to write more on this amazing lady that was my Grandmother. Soon. I promise!
For now, all is peace...

Monday, 26 November 2007

And so I'm off

I'm leaving for France tomorrow morning.
I have to be with my Mum and Dad, my brothers and my family right now.
Amazingly, it has been incredibly straightforward to arrange child care for our three boys and so I'm leaving ALONE!!
I will be driving down to Dover, taking a fast ferry across to Boulogne and driving 2.5 hours to get to my parents who live just north of Paris...
I'm excited but also full of trepidation and also sadness. It's a weird time! I cannot wait to be on my own in the car, to hang out with God, listen to some worship, pray and also just be quiet, or cry a little, maybe?
I haven't cried much - yet. But I know from experience that that is normal and so am expecting...the unexpected! That's grief isn't it?! Anything and everything is OK.
The picture I posted of my grandmother is a particularly beautiful one because you see her exactly as she was. And it is excrutiating to look at: she looks so alive and to think that she is no longer with us is very difficult to grasp, almost impossible right now.
When I come back things will be a little clearer in my head as to how I'm feeling and what grieving for my precious grandmother is going to look like in the slightly longer term.
For now, I'm off. I haven't even packed my bag yet; I think there's a little part of me that really doesn't want to go.

Friday, 23 November 2007

A time to grieve

My wonderful grandmother died last night. I am too sad for words...and am really not sure I am ready for another season of grieving right now.
Will you lift me in prayer, friends?

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Where is your treasure?? (Integrity 1)

Ok Lord... that hurts.
But it's true! You're so right. I'm sorry... Sorry, sorry, sorry.
Where am I?? Where have I been these last few weeks? Months??

Erm... The truth is: anywhere but at your feet Lord.
This is my confession tonight.

I don't even need to tot up the exact number of hours I spend watching TV, reading 'junk-lit', 'surfing' the net, and thinking or worrying about myself - to realise that there is something very wrong in my priorities.

I know I'm really good at giving myself a hard time and don't want to lose sight of what You are trying to say here. But why is it I'm not praying with urgency for my needy neighbours?? Why am I not seeing more power in my life and the lives of those around me? Why am I not seeing Your answers to my prayers? Why am I not hearing You more clearly? Why am I often so unsure of who I am in You and insecure in my relationships with others?

I confess Lord: I have become diluted; lukewarm; I have forsaken You, my first love. And oh too easily replaced You with the things of this world: junk which feeds me for a little while but always leaves me craving something more, and never satisfies...

Oh Lord!! Increase my hunger for reading Your Word! My longing to spend more time with You. Renew my desire to put You above all others! Because You are my treasure... Open the eyes of my heart Lord, so I can really see You!"

Tonight I am so aware how easy it is for me to get caught up in the things of this world, and to get sucked into a way of living my life which is not consistent with what I say I believe. We were discussing what it means to live a life of 'integrity' in our cell group last week. I guess this got me thinking a little more than I was anticipating!! As I confessed a particular sin that I have been struggling with for a while, a way seems to have opened up for the Holy Spirit to do a bit of spring cleaning... And I am feeling the Lord's discipline: in love, with gentle tenderness, He is helping me and allowing me to see, confess and turn away from sin, so I can be free. Isn't He good? Isn't He the most AMAZING Father?!?!?!!!

Friday, 16 November 2007

Ben delights in the simple joys of life

Continuing in the series on 'everyday life with the Wibbzes', this is my delicious Ben enjoying life to the full, with a piece of toast smothered in peanut butter in his hand and no socks on his feet! Being outdoors is his favourite thing and it is where he is at his very best. Can you tell how happy he is?!

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Thomas and the soldiers

Although I have been too busy caring for sick children over the past few weeks to write anything of real value, this wouldn't be a blog if I didn't post stuff on everyday life with the Wibbzes. Here is Thomas playing and interacting beautifully with Mummy, chatting about his toy soldiers, and showing off his budding language skills... This was captured today, a 2nd day off school because of a nasty snotty flu bug. My thinking as I switch off tonight, is 'if the boy is well enough to play and bounce around in such a way, he's so going to school tomorrow!!' ... We'll see.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Light in the darkness

November in the UK is a season for fireworks, thanks to this guy.

People like to congregate around a bonfire in somebody's back garden. Alternately there are also big organised bonfire-and-fireworks extravaganzas which are very popular; a caricatured effigy of Guy Fawkes is sometimes burned on the fire while sparklers and fairly average fireworks are randomly lit and admired by all - although less appreciated by small children and pets!! All this is traditionally accompanied by steaming hot mugs of hot cocoa, jacket potatoes, hot dogs and marshmallows grilled on a skewer in the fire... Mmmmmm... Isn't this the stuff memories are made of...??

'Bonfire night' is one of these rare occasions where it is acceptable (and enjoyable) to be outdoors in the dull, cold, damp darkness of early winter; the rest of the time it is definitely better to stay inside, where it is warm and cosy, at least when the night closes in...

So this light in the darkness is a nice change, and a welcome reminder that "even the darkness will not be dark to God; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to Him." (adapted from Psalm 139:11-13)

Friday, 2 November 2007

You never let go - Matt Redman

This is possibly one of my very favourite songs at the moment... What a powerful truth - He never lets go of me! And He is my Lord of Hope and Light. I sang this all day on Halloween.

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Yummy Tuna and Coriander Chilli

I just came up with this tonight, all by myself on my own...
And it's really really GOOOD!!! Give it a try and let me know how it goes :o)

2-3 onions
2 cloves garlic
1 can chopped tomatoes
100g tomato puree
ground coriander
chilli powder
black treacle
Vegetable stock powder
2 cans tuna
1 can red kidney beans
pre-cooked greens
a good handful or 2 chopped fresh coriander

Using a thick bottomed casserole pan, gently brown 2-3 onions and a couple cloves garlic in some olive oil.
Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, and half a tube of tomato puree (=roughly 100g), together with a generous sprinkle of paprika, ginger, cumin, ground coriander and as much of chilli powder as you deem necessary to make it spicy but not overwhelmingly so (I put in about 1/4 tsp).
Season with 1 Tbsp black treacle and 1 tsp vegetable stock powder, as well as some salt and pepper and simmer this concoction for a good 30 mins on a v low heat.
Once this has reduced by about half, add 2 cans of tuna steak, one can of red kidney beans, some pre-cooked spinach or spring greens and a couple handfuls of chopped fresh coriander.
This can then be taken off the heat until needed. It might be necessary to lubricate with a little tomato puree diluted in water (half tomato/ half water) and a lug of olive oil when reheating.
This was delicious served with a baked potato (you can do this in the microwave: prick it all over and cook on full power for about 7 mins, then stand for 1 min) filled with cream cheese (eg Philadelphia) or soured cream.

Yum. Yum. YUMMMM...

Monday, 29 October 2007

Maybe winter's not such a bad thing...?

The clocks have gone back on Sunday morning, heralding the start of winter-time... The reality is that from now on it's going to be getting colder and darker with every passing day. For us here in the UK, in a couple of weeks' time - or maybe less - it'll be night time by about 16.30. Just to give you an idea. That's hard going :o(

And so there is a kind of battle going on inside my head, around about this time every year. It goes something like this: "Man, I hate winter with a passion! It's so depressing! How on earth am I going to make it through another one?? I'll not be able to go out in the garden for the next 4 months!! I can't stand it being cold and dark!" Yet I know winter is necessary in order for rebirth to take place in spring - And thus I proceed to rebuke myself: "I'm so silly! I have to 'get through' it! I WILL get through it. It'll be fine! It's actually healthy and important and it'll do me good; I'm going to stay positive and not spend the next 4 months in hibernation, eating chocolate and mash potato and being miserable, making everyone miserable around me..."

Is that familiar to anyone out there?? Or is it just me??

And yet God had a plan all along when He invented winter. He came up with it so that His creation could have a break. Winter is good. It's tough but it's SO good. Why couldn't I see that more clearly? This is where I am so grateful that there are some others around me who can see what I cannot and whose wisdom contributes to shaping my understanding, with the Holy Spirit's help... My attitude has taken a bit of a battering after reading these amazing words full of wisdom, beauty and grace, written by Tonia over at 'study in brown':

"The barrenness of the maple tree in winter is not a cruel joke. It
is nature's way of protecting the tree from the killing frost; closing its doors
and windows to keep the heat inside and the tree alive.
We can trust Him that He knows what He is doing...even when it seems the winds are blowing every bit of beauty from our lives. Hold on. Keep trusting.
He knows what He is doing."

So maybe it's time for me to surrender to winter, and to let God clear out the rubbish, ready for the next season. And to allow Him to show me that there is purpose. In everything.

Friday, 26 October 2007

Thomas in hospital

We have had a bit of a traumatic time of it recently. This is Thomas's story - I don't have the energy or time to retell it again here, so a link to his blog will have to do!

In between this incident and Tom's little 'to-do', we had to make another 999 call last thursday afternoon (18th Oct): Ben woke from a nap seemingly a little limp and groggy and with a ginormous nose bleed... It was very scary to see him covered in blood but the paramedics were wonderfully reassuring and he was totally fine! Although thank God Mark went to him when he did, as it could have been a lot worse had Ben been left. But the horror of not even a month ago was relived for a few brief moments, and we had to do a lot of surrendering that night in order to be able to go to sleep at all.

"Lord my times are in your hands. My kids' days are numbered in your book of life and not one of these will be cut short until You have decided. We are yours. My kids are Your gift to me, and I wish to surrender them back to You, Sovereign Almighty God."

Thursday, 25 October 2007


I know I have been a little silent this last week, especially after being particularly prolific following the summer holidays!!

Life has caught up with me again, and what with three emergency calls (999/ 911), one stay in hospital, coughs and colds, family staying and altogether very small amounts of sleep, I'm really no longer sure whether I'm coming or going these days!!!

Silence is important sometimes. But how I wish that my silence in the blogosphere reflected silence in my inner being...! My brain is too busy right now; too noisy, but one thing I am learning to do: to "take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ". There is SUCH power in this simple little exercise, but it is a discipline and it is taking a lot of will power on my part to not let myself get swept away by negative and ungodly thoughts.

So here you have it. This is where I'm at, in a nutshell... There will be more when my kids are back at school after this autumn holiday.

PS: Cecily - not one day goes by when I don't visit :o)

Saturday, 13 October 2007

Thank you dance

At last!!!
I have worked out how to transfer videos from one part of my computer onto another so that the cyberworld can be entertained by the antics of my lovely monsters.

Sunday, 7 October 2007

Mad Wibbzes

Need I say anymore??? They're all crazy!! All the time!!!

(NB: I would like to reassure you that it IS honey Ben is experimenting with - and not paracetamol... - just in case you were wondering...)