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  • More Photos - Christmas Post...

    (Yes, it's out of focus, but I'm not about to retake it!)

    Every two years one of these arrives on, or soon after, my birthday.  Here in Scotland, once you turn 50 you are automatically enrolled in a the NHS bowel screening programme (elsewhere in the UK it is 60, though I gather some English Trusts and CCGs are now piloting a more thorough screening programme from 55).  So it gives me the opportunity for one of my periodic rants: DO THE SCREENING.  It might be a bit embarrassing testing your own poo; it might be undignified if you need a colonsocopy, but frankly compared to chemo, surgery, radiotherapy and a Damoclean sword, these are as nothing, trust me.

    Also, finally, this made it through customs at Gretna...



    I feel very privileged to have contributed to this special edition, and really hope that the stories shared will be an encouragement to others.


  • Forty Days of Photos - Day 37

    I glanced up just in time to see this most beautiful sight - and which my phone camera utterly failed to capture adequately... pinky-golden clouds behind the dark skeletal forms of deciduous trees: a new dawn, a new day, we have passed the solstice and the city looks good! (Can you spot the plagiarism there?)

    Advent-wise we aren't quite there yet.  However, apart from shop workers, public transport workers, restaurant staff, emergency services, carer-workers, medical professionals, power suppliers, and clergy-types almost everyone I know is now on holiday - with a nice long 'shut down' because of how the bank holidays land.

    So this photo is for those who today are starting their break - may it be a time of real rest, relaxation and refreshment.  As the days begin to lengthen, however slowly, may hope be renewed, joy be abundant, peace fill your hearts and love surround you.

    Happy holidays (as our US friends would express it) to all readers... working or not!

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 37

    According to Bede, the year pre-Christian 'English' (Anglo-Saxon) year began on Modranecht or 'Mother's Night' which coincided with the Roman, Christian, date of 25th December.  I don't think think there's anything mysterious about that, it's well known that the Christian calendar merrily adopted any pre-existing festivals that seemed to fit and then 'baptised' them.

    However, the writer of the reflections uses this as a way in to reminding ourselves that God is  beyond gender, either binary or as a continuum, and too mysterious for our comprehension.  After millennia of male dominated god-language, maybe it's good to remind ourselves of feminine words too, not to replace but to peacefully coexist...

    The prayer for today

    Loving God, who is beyond gender, and so can be my heavenly Mother as well as my heavenly Father, may I know your mother's love this day, may I know that wonderful connection that is only possible between a mother and her child between you and me.  Be with me this day, O wonderful Mother God. Amen.

  • Forty Days of photos - Day 36

    Today's choice is an old photo. Which I am setting alongside this one which is just a few days old...

    cg santa 2018.jpg

    The hat is the same in each photo, but they are separated by almost eight years.

    It is a 'thing' that I now see every new Christmas as a very precious gift, something I would not have dared dream of eight years ago.  In those eight years I have made so many friends that otherwise I'd never have met - together we have laughed and loved and lost.

    Each year, at some point I take a moment to reflect, just before the full-on festive fun begins. To remember how terrified I once was.  To recall the names of (far too many) absent friends. To realise how fortunate I am.

    Advent/Christmas as a gift of remembrance... seems somehow right to me.

  • A Celtic Advent - Day 36

    Today, let's start with some music!

    Gud Jul! Solstice Blessings!

    Today's reflection centres on the concept of the solstice, which I had ever realised literally means "sun stands still" 

    Of course the sun doesn't stand still, and it's the earth's movement that creates this effect but...

    That moment, however fleeting, when movement pauses or stops before it (effectively) reverses... that infinitessismal change that changes everything.

    BC - AD... before-after... paradigm shift or a continuum...

    Tis mystery all, but it happens, twice yearly, that the movements of earth and sun combine to change the seasons.

    Tis mystery all, God enters creation in the form of a child...


    The book offers this prayer for today:

    Warmth of all warmth, comfort of all comfort, be with me this day.  I would share your warmth with others, and be to the other that which the great other is to me.

    Let not the darkbness overcome us, but let the light shine from within to illuminate that which is darkness.

    As the darkness stretches its long hand over this land, let your Light shne forth from within your people, that none would be left in darkness, but that isntead we will liove in the hope of the coming Light.

    Great Light, be my guide.  Hold me fast in this present darkness that I may be the fire on a hilltop in this dark time. Burn within me now and ever more.