Friday, 14 November 2014

Empowering or Humiliating?

Anyone who knows me will know that I’m normally a happy, placid and contented person. It takes a lot to ruffle my feathers!

But over the last couple of days I have managed to get my feathers ruffled…. a lot. 

And what has caused this amazing ruffling of feathers?

A holiday booking. (And if you read on... a worship event too)

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


Last week I read Sheridan Voysey's book 'Ressurection Year'.

I wanted to read it for a couple of reasons:

Monday, 18 August 2014

Returning to Blogging.... In One Place

It's been a while since the last post hasn't it?!
Life has been rather chaotic with lots of different writing projects, conferences, assemblies, camps and Children Worldwide stuff. Sadly, when life gets so busy, the first thing that has to go is the blogging!

Friday, 23 May 2014

Amazing Stories About Some Amazing Young People

I’ve been thinking through what I’m going to say at the new “Neos” conference - a conference designed to "Equip all for family, youth + children's ministry". 

Aside from some sessions in the Additional Needs Alliance stream, I’ve been asked to do a 7 minute “Quick Insight” on additional needs.

What can I say in 7 minutes? 

What I want to do is to be positive!

Then I felt a blog post ‘coming on’. It wrote itself whilst I was in the bath…..! (I do some of my best thinking whilst in the bath!)

Friday, 2 May 2014

Choosing Speakers - Regardless.....

There’s loads of tweets and posts out there on conferences only having white male keynote speakers.

Do I support this campaign? Absolutely I do! 
I am blessed to know many gifted female speakers and speakers of a different ethnicity, and I am happily cheering them on from the sidelines. The conferences who don’t use them are missing out on a huge blessing.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

A Cold & Broken Hallelujah

I’ve thought long and hard about writing this blog post.

It’s a vulnerable one…. and I hate being vulnerable.

But it keeps screaming at me to be written, and this is my third attempt at writing it!

It stems from a seminar that Steve and myself did at Spring Harvest called “Coping With the Onset of Disability”. I wasn't totally sure about doing it, but as I've quoted in another post - God appeared to think it was a good thing!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Stolen Dignity

Dignity: “The state or quality of being worthy of honour or respect.”

We use the word dignity in many ways, and as a result its real meaning has been eroded a lot over the years. 

I'm often described as dignified - but by that most people mean I don't complain much (they don't know me very well!)

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

On International Women's Day - Think Disability Too

In all the discussions surrounding women's rights in the lead up to International women's day, disability seems to be one area that doesn't get much of a mention.

As a campaigner for disability rights in both children and adults - I want to speak out. But I'm going to let the United Nations and the World Bank do the talking for me.

I'm Not Blind, But I Can't See.

I've been tweeting about websites with small print this morning.

My motives for this are two fold - and has nothing to do with being a grumpy old woman!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

'Something' for Lent

I don't tend to do 'something' for lent  - It's usually such a busy time of year for me that it often passes me by.
Some friends give up chocolate, others give up tea, coffee or even diet coke. Some even give up Facebook!

Friday, 14 February 2014

Why Would A Parent Choose Euthanasia?

Belgium is on it’s way to legalising euthanasia for children - it just needs the signature of the King.

So, Christians are all over the country are now mobilising to sign petitions that are directed at the King to stop this becoming law.

They are rightly concerned that this sets a precedent for other countries to follow.
But I wonder…….

Monday, 20 January 2014

Creaking with Grace

The following is the merging of two posts - and a collision of two very different emotions.

I have a confession….
I’m a cynic.

I entered 2013 cynical and angry.

But at the same time, I’m a bit of a Pollyanna too and always have been.

The cynicism has crept up on me - slowly - insidiously. It’s taken me by surprise. Me, the usually irritatingly happy and thankful optimist. And it’s been slowly stealing my joy.

What made this happen?

Well, it’s not been one thing - it’s been a lot of things.

I may well blog on some of the individual things in the future… but I may not. I don’t want others to catch the cynicism.

But here’s a glimpse of one of those things:

I got fed up with some of the more theologically conservative brands of churchmanship that I am involved with, that seemed to worship theology and then judge those who didn’t match up to their views. I was angry that getting this theology right appeared to be more important  than caring for the vulnerable in our communities. I was also very angry about their view of women, and their seeming lack of interest in making churches accessible. I got fed up with seeing good and Godly friends knocked and their gifts belittled because they were either women, or disabled (Or both!)

I was more than cynical - I was angry, and it showed.

On days where I was in pain and struggling to worship the cynical side of me grew and the pollyanna side of me shrank

All through my life I’ve been given reasons why I shouldn’t be doing what I do. When I first started out as a children’s evangelist I was told I shouldn’t be ‘galavanting around the country’ I should be stopping at home and trying to find a husband. I didn’t listen! When I eventually did get married I was told I shouldn’t be ‘galavanting around the country’ I should be stopping at home, cooking and cleaning for my husband and having lots of babies (Very painful when you can’t have kids!) At the time, I coped with all of that with good grace, but what tipped me over the edge and mega spiked my cynicism was a recent continuation of this: Apparently I shouldn’t be ‘galavanting around the country’ I should be stopping at home resting because disabled people don’t do that sort of thing.

Well - this disabled person does! Tough!

So what changed? I’m obviously writing this in the past tense - so something must have changed.

The first thing was preparing for our team conference. Our theme this year was thankfulness, and we asked our membership to submit 3 things that they were thankful for over the last year.

What came back was amazing.

Not just those I printed off to display, but those sent back to me privately - by those who had had to dig deeply to find something to be thankful for when life was collapsing around them. A real sacrifice of praise in a life of pain.

I hadn’t submitted anything. I'd had a lot of horrible stuff happening, yet managed to find stuff I was thankful for, but I was trying to be aware of the feelings of others. Celebrating what an amazing hero of a hubby I have seemed unfair to those who are single. Being thankful for a gift towards having a holiday seemed wrong when we have members who find it difficult to pay their rent. My thanks went unspoken. But in doing that I robbed my friends of the opportunity to celebrate with me. I had assumed that my friends were suffering with the same cynicism I had - and I was wrong.

The wonderful Ruth Valerio was our speaker. On Saturday morning she showed this picture of sculptures from Michaelangelo - the unfinished slaves. As I looked and meditated on the picture I could relate to them and the look of writhing pain, and I realised something else about my cynicism.

Coming to terms with a disability isn’t easy. It’s hard to accept all the changes - changes in appearance, not being able to do what you once did.....etc. The way you view yourself changes too. I also realised how ugly the cynicism was.

I looked at the picture and realised that what God saw and what I saw in me were very different - the grief of coming to terms with disability was also fuelling my cynicism.

My conversation with God about this has been quite short…. 
God: “Got it?” Me: “Yep, Got it”
That’s all it needed (I’m not a pour it all out on my knees for hours sort of person)

But on talking to one of our lovely members later I could honestly say in response to her “How are you?” question: “I'm Creaking with Grace”. Hence the title of this post.

I’m still a little cynical - I think it’s healthy to question and stir things up occasionally. But I hope I can still carry on “creaking with grace”.

To close - here are my three things to be thankful for in 2013:

  • My husband Steve, without whom I couldn’t do half of what I do. The man who patiently walks beside me and behind me…. and makes me laugh until it hurts to breath!
  • Our holiday - a chance to just ‘be’
  • A plateau in my illness - I don’t know how long it will last. It could be 50 years or five weeks, but I’m going to be thankful for the moment.