Thursday, 23 May 2013

Pentecost Sunday 2013

Bishop Alan "Buckingham"--in a red robe for Penecost

                        Some of you may have been waiting since Monday to read more about the photos I posted on Monday.  Thursday has finally come and I have time to write about Pentecost Sunday 2013. 
                        This Spring has been the coolest in 35 years...and it has been grey, overcast or rainy most of the Spring.  The three churches in the parish were holding a joint service, to be followed by a barbeque in St. Mary’s Vicarage back garden.  The weatherman predicted a day of showers and chilly temperatures.  The Maverick and I prayed for a clear day, or at least for the rain to hold off.  As it turned out, the Great and Loving Father blessed the day with the only partly cloudy skies and very comfortable temperatures. 
                        The Maverick started his “church” day by going to the 9.30 am Family Worship.  This is a once-a-month service for families with young children.  The Maverick goes when he isn’t working and participates with the activities. 
                        As mentioned above, St. Marys’ church was full, as members from the congregations of St. Francis and Christ the Worker joined us to celebrate the “Birthday of the Church”—the day of Pentecost.                                The three vicars share the service as well.  The sermon included a black bin liner (trash bag), a glove and an orange.  The vicar giving the sermon equated our lives to each of these items.
·         The bin liner—without air in the bag, it is empty, shapeless and has no substance to it.  But, fill the black bag with air, and it takes shape.  Without the Holy Spirit, we are spiritually empty, without breath or life and unproductive for the Kingdom of God.  But we were created to be fill with the Holy Spirit—full, His Presence giving our lives shape and purpose.
·         The glove—apart from a hand, a glove can not perform any kind of task.  But once the person puts his/her hand in the glove, the glove fulfils it’s purpose.  We need the power of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us in order for us to be directed and equipped to fulfil the destiny God has created us for.
·         The Orange—it has sections, but is a whole.  The Fruit of the Spirit has different facets—love, joy peace, patience, long-suffering, kindness, goodness—and theses attributes complete the whole of the Holy Spirit’s fruit in our lives.  We need the Holy Spirit to work in us the character of Jesus, but to produce the seed, which is the Word of God, that we plant in the hearts and mind of others.
For the Maverick, this was the second worship service of the day.  We agreed that the sermon was not only clever, but profound in it’s application. 
                                Directly after church, we made our way over to the barbeque.  Since I’d been providing prayer ministry, I was one of the last to arrive.  Several people wondered if I was even coming.  The scent of burgers and sausages cooking on charcoal grills filled the air as I made my way to the garden.  Clusters of people sat with white paper plates filled with rolls, salad and crisps, eating and chatting in the afternoon sun.  After eating, I had a little wonder-round and enjoyed holding 14-week-old Millie, whilst chatting with her parents.  After the raffle numbers were called and the prizes collected, people began to drift away.  It was about 3.00pm; children needed naps, or had homework to do. 
Knowing there was to be yet another church service, I made my way home to rest and hopefully use the interim time wisely.  (I rang my sister and chatted for a while!)
When I was received into the CoE in 2009

          It is usually in May each year that our area of the Oxford Diocese has it’s confirmation service.  A few weeks ago I said to John that I wanted to attend.  When he asked me why, it was because I like to go and encourage and support the candidates who are making this step of commitment to Christ and to the church.  Then week before last, our Vicar asked me if I would be the sponsor of one of the candidates who recently finished the Alpha Course.  Feeling honoured to be asked to take on this privilege, I said yes. 
                                At 5.30 pm, “Jay & Joans” picked me up and off we went to St. Mary’s church in Datchet.  Once inside the church, I looked for “The Maverick” as he had gotten a lift from the Vicar and his wife.  My idea was to find my seat and get settled, taking time to focus and mentally prepare for the service; a sponsor must stand and present the candidate to the Bishop.  I wanted to make sure I knew just when in the order of service I was supposed to do that. 
                                I walked up the centre aisle, making my way towards where John was standing by the seats.  Vicar “R” came up and said: “Do you have your programme?” 
                                “Yes.”  I said, holding it up.  I’d not yet had a chance to look at it.
                                “I’m sorry, but you can’t sit next to John—he’s in reserved seating.”  Vicar “R”  said.
                                Thinking that sponsor sit in reserved seating, and that John was a sponsor for someone else, I couldn’t understand the significance of Vicar “R’s” statement. 
                                Puzzlement must have shown on my face, as Vicar “R” said, “Look on the first page of your programme.”
                                What I read left me standing with my jaw on the floor, my mouth so wide open a freight train could have rolled through.  When had this been arranged?  Who else knew? 
                                Vicar “R” stood there, laughing at my wide-open eyes, and gaping mouth.  He was enjoying himself entirely too much. 
                                I looked at John and registered that he had changed from his jeans and polo shirt into suit and tie.  Finally, I found words—although I’m not sure if they were really the ones I wanted.
                                “You stinker!!”  I exclaimed to The Maverick.  “When did you arrange this?”
                                “It’s been a while in the making.  I’ve been wanting to do this for a couple of years and it just worked out to do it now.”
                                The Maverick’s grand surprise left me bedazzled and I really had to concentrate to make sure I didn’t miss my cue in presenting “Joans” to the Bishop.  At sporadic moments during the service tears would fill my eyes, as joy and love filled my heart.  I knew this was not something my husband had done flippantly or to please me.  Knowing he isn’t one to stand on pomp or formality, for him to want to participate with this service and be officially received into the Church of England, my esteem and respect for him grew exponentially.  It was truly a beautiful thing.
                                So, that’s the story that goes with the photo of “The Maverick” 
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

Monday, 20 May 2013

Photo diary

Quilt top organised so far.

John being received into the Church of England...story to follow

Thursday, 16 May 2013

"How's Your Mom?"

        I often get asked, “How is your Mum?”  People ask because they care, because I’ve asked for prayer for her and my sister many tim
Mom on a good day, 23 March 2012
        I can honestly say, “It is well with her soul.”  That is because since she committed her life to Christ when she was 17 years old, she has done her best to trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and live for him. 
        On the physical side, the answer to how she is presents a different story.  On 31st May, Mom will be 87 years old.  Seeing as I have her genetics, my life expectancy is good. 
Frankly, Mom’s body is worn out.  Over eleven years ago, tiny bleeds in the back of Mom’s eyes began stealing her sight.  The doctors called this Macular Degeneration.  As a way to treat the bleeds and hopefully stop further loss of sight, the doctors prescribed injections into the eye.  So anxious about these injections, Mom’s blood pressure would rise to unhealthy levels.  Sissy finally told Mom that she didn’t have to take the shots—especially since it didn’t improve Mom’s vision. 
To begin with Mom could use a magnifying glass to see a page and perhaps read large print.  Her vision faded, until she could see forms, occasionally colours and shadows.  She was declared legally blind about seven years ago.  So, basically, she sees very little these days.
Ears are a blessing when they work properly.  Mom’s ears have given her trouble most of her life.  Narrow ear canals caused Mom a lot of discomfort over the years, as she had lots of drainage from her ears.  Often it couldn’t drain properly.  When in her late thirties, she had tubes put into her ears.  By then, the damage had already started—her hearing was impaired.  In the 1980’s, she was fitted with a hearing aid.  It wasn’t until the late 1990’s that she was fitted for hearing aids in both ears. 
Most hearing aids last, at the most, about 10 years.  With insurance to replace the hearing aids unavailable, Mom’s tiny equipment was getting fragile.  She’d had them cleaned and maintenance provided by hearing aid centres.  In truth, they needed replacing.  In 2011, whilst she was in a rehabilitation centre, one of the Certified Nursing Assistants forgot to take Mom hearing aids out, so they got wet.  That was the finish of them.  So, now Mom is deaf. 
In November 2011, Mom fell ill with pneumonia and a urinary tract infection.  This caused havoc with her blood sugar; it dropped so low that she became unresponsive.  My sister was frightened, as she thought Mom was on the point of death.  Taken to the hospital by ambulance, Mom’s fighting spirit brought her back.  But when Mom woke up, she wasn’t the same.  A form of onset dementia had developed.  Her sweet-natured, compliant personality became unpredictable; some days she was cooperative, happy, other days argumentative and mean.  Dementia robs an individual of memory and personality.  Family members have to adjust and accept this new person—and it is an emotional, physical, and spiritual battle. 
Now days, Mom is stable, with the usual aches and pains of arthritis.  She might eat well one day, but not the next.  She usually takes her medicine without a fuss.  But if Mom isn’t in the mood to take it, Sissy leaves it off.  One day doesn’t seem to make much difference at this point. 
No longer able to follow a story line, Mom isn’t interested in listening to books on tape or what is on television.  She is content to be close to my sister and naps off-and-on. 
Marginally sighted, deaf, and physically fragile, the overall story is that she is stable these days.  I miss the Mom I knew before dementia changed her; the chats over the phone, those secret little jokes, talking about sewing, cooking and God.  Yet, I sense that she does pray when her mind is clear enough.  Above all else, God holds Mom in His hands, and whether this side of heaven or in His Presence, she is in a good place.
Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene.”

Saturday, 11 May 2013

It's a Date!

Looking across our park

        Relationship experts tell people, that to keep their relationship fresh, an important activity for couples to do is schedule regular date nights.  For people with nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday schedules, it is a much easier task to accomplish.  But My Maverick works shifts; seven days on, four days off, seven days on, three days off—with a mixture of early and late starts.  So achieving a “fixed/regular” date night for My Maverick and me is difficult.  Basically, this Woman has to grab any opportunity for a date when she can!
        Thursday, 2nd May, The Maverick was on one of his three-days off.  I had planned to spend the afternoon at home, sewing, making progress on the quilt top I’ve started for the soft-furnishing class I’m currently taking.  My Maverick found me in my office/studio.  “Do you want to go shopping with me when I get back?”  Now it had probably been months since I’d done any grocery shopping.  Our usual method is for My Maverick to do the shopping and bring it home and I put it all away. 
        “Yes, I’d like that!”  I was actually thinking that we might have a cuppa at the Tesco cafe—something we’d not done for a while.
        When My Maverick returned from his errand-running, he found me changing my blouse and putting on my shoes.  There was no time for lunch—but I didn’t ask what he was thinking. 
        Sun blazed, white clouds traipsed across the blue sky; but the wind has a slight chill to it.  A cardigan would have been appreciated by me.  My Maverick, still hot from his bike ride, thought the temperature was perfect. 
        Holding hands, we walked across the park then crossed the London Road to the bus stop.  I was getting hungry, but didn’t mention it.  Within five minutes the bus came, and on we climbed.  The bus takes about 10 minutes to get into town. 
        While My Maverick went down to get a trolley, I took the escalator to the top floor and dug out the shopping list.  Were we going to have tea before shopping or after?  I was hoping before; I get nasty when my blood sugar drops.  Wearing a big grin, My Maverick pushed the trolley off the lift and joined me by the service desk. 
        Finally he asked: “Tea now,or after?”
        “Now please.”
        I had expected My Maverick to draw money from the auto-teller when he went for the cart.  But no—we were at the entrance of the cafe.  “Do you want to wait ten minutes?”  he asked, pointing to the sign.  “Special cake £1.50 with a cup of tea after 2.30 pm.” 
        “Is it really 2:20 pm?”  I was shocked.
        It was at this point he asked if I had any cash on me.  I rarely do, unless I’ve made a withdrawal for a specific purpose. 
     "I'd prefer lunch, say a sandwich."  

     With that, he went off once again.  So, I sat at a booth, waiting for him to return and deliberated about which sandwich I wanted.  In the end, I had a chicken club on wheat bread and shared a plate of hot chips (fries) with my husband. 
        It was worth coming shopping, as My Maverick found a great “I love you” gift—an electric toothbrush.  Isn’t that just romantic?  Truly I was pleased though, because I’ve wanted an electric toothbrush since I was a child. 
        And to top this wonderful date off, we took a taxi home.  Having to walk or depend on the bus, taking a taxi is a luxury. 
        Now some people wouldn’t call grocery shopping a date.  But as I said at the top, I take advantage any opportunities I get.  The Tesco Coffee Shop now serves Costa Coffee, so it’s a touch of special without being financially extravagant.  We had a nice chat, sitting by the floor-length windows, the sun shining on us.  And the chips—excellent! 
        I believe that it isn’t how much a person spends, but rather the person with whom you spend time that is important.  We still enjoy talking to each other—chatting about our dreams, challenging each other. 
        I am a very blessed woman. 
        Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,
“Lady Helene”

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Whose Identity?

        “The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy, I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows.”  John 10:10

This morning I actually got up about 7.30 am, instead of giving in to my habit of going back to bed until 8.30 am or 9.00 am.  I thought about how I could use the time wisely—writing, sewing, praying.  So, with a mug of hot coffee, I sat down and turned on the computer. 

Wouldn’t you know it, I looked up and it was 11.30 am!  What happened?  The temptation to play an on-line match-three game was too strong; I allowed “The Thief” to steal over two hours of precious time.  To say the least, I was disappointed with myself. 

Each year, New Wine Ministries hosts a Women’s Day.  ( This year it was held Saturday, 27th April 2013 at Jesus House for all the Nations near Brent Cross in London.  (  

This past year I’ve been feeling tired, lethargic—even bereft.  I recognised this empty condition, as it seems each time I have booked to go to a retreat or ministry day, the Lord makes sure that my emotional condition feels desperate and my spiritual condition is hungry, thirsty, and empty.  This means I am in a perfect position of openness before Him. 

Christy Wimber, (daughter-in-law of the late John Wimber) from Yorba Linda Vineyard Church in California spoke in the main meeting.  Christy spoke on trusting God in the midst of transition.  Transition times can be and often are difficult times, painful, uncomfortable and sometimes desperate.  Facing change is a perfect opportunity to fear, because of the unknown.  We wrongly believe if we can control our situations, we will be secure.  In truth, living in fear comes from not believing and trusting God to give us everything we need. 

Carrying what we are not meant to carry can keep us from prospering in God’s will for our lives.  The burdens we unnecessarily carry become like an overloaded rucksack, chaffing painfully as it rubs against us.  The amazing thing about the human body is that during pain, it will shift in an attempt to alleviate the pain.  Our walk can become impaired, our progress slowed down.  If we can, we take medication to quiet the pain.  If we ignore the problem, and just keep taking the medicine, the numbing agent becomes less effective, and we need to take more.  We get to the point we exist, but don’t truly live. 

For me, the New Wine Women’s Day was a day for me to stop, take off the rucksack and ask God what was in it that I needed to lay aside. 

Christine sensed that many ladies were numbing themselves—with alcohol, or food, or other avoidance behaviours.  She invited the women who had been numbing their emotions and minds to come to the front for prayer.  Suddenly I knew that wasting hours playing on-line games was a mind-numbing behaviour.  So, up I went forward—ignoring Satan’s jibe; “What will the ladies with you think?”.  “They love me—shut up and go away.” I told him. 

What was I trying to carry?  My heart was breaking—thinking about my Mom and sister.   Before I was married, Mom was “The Person to Whom I Belonged.”  I am grieving that I can no longer just ring her up and chat.  I am sad that the full responsibility of caring for Mom falls on my sister, who has her own set of medical problems.  As I was being prayed for, the Lord spoke; “Your Mom is not suffering, she isn’t uncomfortable.  Her times are in My hands.” 

Since I was about thirteen years old, I have aspired to be a writer.  On Saturday, 27th April I realised the bereft feeling in my heart was tied to my desire for Mom to know I had succeeded.  But now that I couldn’t show her and share with her any accomplished goals, I was subconsciously questioning why I should continue to pursue the goal.  Therefore motivation to write was being hindered. 

Equally, I was tying my sense of identity to my Mom.  It hurts to not have her available mentally, physically, and spiritually.  To watch endless hours of television, play games on-line or on my desk-top, over-eat and not take care of myself was trying to avoid the pain of not being able to control my Mom’s and Sister’s situation.  Satan loves to taunt me with wicked thoughts—“You should be able to do more;” “What’s going to happen to Sissy when Mom is gone?”; “Just give up—it’s took late for you to make your Mom proud.” 

The prayer (on the 27th) was soothing—the Father pulling me close, letting me know that Mom and Sissy are in His loving care.  The truth is, my identity needs to be solely and solidly established as being His child; His Beloved, the Apple of His eye.  My motivation to write is not out of love for my mom, not out of love for writing, not out of trying to prove my worth.  My motivation to write needs to be based on obedience in response to His great love for me. 

So what was this morning’s episode all about?  It was a tactic of Satan to distract me.  Maybe, if I panicked after realising just how much time was gone, I would give up the idea of spending time in prayer, decide to simply sew instead of writing a blog entry.  Maybe I would just give up the idea of working on any other projects and just watch television all day— waste time, just exist. 

Instead, I asked the Father to forgive me.  I determined to write a blog entry.  And I promised myself no more games today.  I want to make that transition from “Mommy’s Girl” to “Abba’s Girl”. 

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith,

“Lady Helene”