Friday, 24 April 2015

Taking a Dive

I took a dive yesterday
. No, I don't mean I threw away a fight,
  or sprang into some gleaming pool from a distant spring board in the sky.

  What I did was reach up to the washing line to begin to peg out the clothes,
 stepping back as I did so,
  only to have my foot connect with an array of potted plants Hubby had put out
to harden off with a view to later plantings.

 Being thrown off balance, the next thing I knew I was falling backwards towards a tall, heavy, planter, and the paving slabs of the patio.

In the slowed down seconds of my fall I attempted to throw myself leftwards,
 towards the grass which seemed a softer option.

 I would like to think that if It had been a dive into a pool
 it was an elegant backward somersault, with twisted half pike.
  (I don't know what that means but it sounds about right, and so good).

  In reality of course it was a frantic Tom and Jerry style flailing of the arms,
 ending in a full length sprawl on my side, accompanied by a sort of screamy shriek.

   If the style left something to be desired though, the landing was pretty good,
 in as much as I did largely avoid the paving slabs of the patio,
 with only my ribs and side connecting with the edge,
  as the upper part of me came to rest on the grass.

.  To be honest this was not as soft an option as I had thought,
due to the fact the grass was growing in earth which felt
 like the same concrete the patio was resting on.

 Not being an experienced diver I think it was a pretty good outcome,
  as I was able to lie there for a while
  assessing if there was any real damage to the working parts.

   From my newly recumbent position I could see my glasses half a body's length away,
 where they seemed to be making close observation of a couple of daisies,
 all be it without me.

 Thankfully, as I scanned my neighbours bedroom windows
 I didn't see any of them observing me.
  (Embarrassment at my undignified dive had already kicked in.)

 Along with my relief at not being seen,
 I felt a slight discomfort at the thought I could let out such a shriek
and be lying prone in my garden,
 without at least one would-be helper emerging from somewhere.

Finding myself sound in wind and limb I gingerly got up,
 collected my specs, and roused hubby from his lair at the computer in the study upstairs.
In the end it took two calls from the foot of the stairs to get through to him.

  Emergency treatment consisted of a hot cup of sweet tea of course,
 (well, I am British),
 a couple of paracetamol, hot shower,
  and analgesic spray to my ribs.

 Truth compels me to add there were a few tears,
 a bit of laughter as I visualised my diving technique,
 and a few well chosen words to hubby about where he had left the potted plants.

 I couldn't quite see the rationale behind his reply that
"They haven't been there long",
because, as I pointed out
 they were there long enough for one of us to have fallen over them!

The thing is, as with all accidents, my fall came out of a clear blue sky
. One minute everything was fine and dandy,
 and my day was planned out in front of me,
the next I was on the ground.
Life had been good.

Being laid low in the past has not always followed that pattern for me.
 Like many who suffer from chronic illness,
  when I was sick I struggled with depression and low self esteem.

 The conflict I had felt as I lay in the garden,
 on the one hand needing somebody to have known and responded,
 while at the same time feeling an uncalled for shame at my situation,
  are all too familiar to me.

 There was always this guilt attached to being less than one should be,
 either in ones body or ones mind.

All too often my heart's cry was
Ps. 42 :5  Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me?
 Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Saviour and my God.

 Thankfully now, both in body, mind, and spirit, I walk a more even path.
I do not forget however, how despair, despondency, and fear,
 can seem to fall out of a clear blue sky.

I hope you know nothing of what it is to suffer from depression.
 I also hope if you do not, you are careful not to judge those who do.
 Careful not to say,
 "What have they got to be depressed about?"
 because believe me that is a question they will ask themselves,
  and beat themselves with, time and again.

 Of course, according to statistics,
 around 80% of us show some signs of clinical depression,
so it is far more likely you do understand what it means to suffer in some way.

 If you do, above all:-

  Do not be ashamed, or believe you are undeserving of help.
Learn to be your own best friend, and do seek help.
In be-friending yourself learn to spot what pushes you towards the dive in your mood.
Watch your energy. - What gives it.? What takes it way? 
Take exquisitely good care of yourself in the most wholesome way you know.
  Avoid like the plague those who do not accept you as you are.

Gosh I'm sorry.
 Didn't mean to give you yet another drain on your energy
  by making a list of does and don'ts.

  I know what it is not to have the mental energy for such things,
 or even to believe I would ever have that energy again.
 To believe absolutely that this is the very time from which I will never arise.

 If that is where you are today, I reach out to you,
 praying the heaviness will be broken, the prison bars shattered,
and light again return to your spirit.

If you are already standing tall, and strong. and positive,
why not join me in sending out the blessing of light, and healing,
 in your own way?

May this weekend see us all arise to a fuller way of being.

Be Blessed

P.S.  To hear the late Maya Angelou read her well known poem, I Will Arise
click on the link below.

Saturday, 18 April 2015

The View From The Top

I took these photos at British_Camp,
not quite at the top of the site of the Iron Age fort
 in the Malvern Hills, Worchestershire.

Hubby and I climb it once a year to prove we still can,
 and to look over at our beloved Wales from the summit.

This year we took our seven year old great grand son Zachary with us 
and he had a great time playing warrior spying out the enemy,
 as well as coming in handy carrying our picnic to the top on his back.

We were not all that sure we would make it to the top this year,
what with hubby's arthritic knees and seventy nine years beginning to take their toll.

In the event we all made it,
 enjoying our picnic in the unseasonably warm sunshine atop the fort.
For the first time I can remember, even the wind held it's breath,
 so the silence was unbroken.

We marvelled together at the magnificent panorama, 
and wondered at the amazing people who built this fortification so very long ago.

Now people are drawn here  
as a place apart from the struggles of everyday life.
Even Zach ventured the opinion 
it was so peaceful, he would like to live at the top.

When it was built of course
 it was a means of survival at the very centre of battle and strife.

Sitting in the sunshine I remembered a time nearing my mother's death 
when I was attempting to split myself between my home in Coventry,
 and my parents home in Wales. 
Both Mam and Dad were frail, my daughter was awaiting surgery,
 and my husband undergoing tests for a muscular problem 

I had been driving down to Wales, when against all the pressures of time,
 I succumbed to the need to pull off the motor way
 and take the detour to the Malverns.

The day had been grey, with a constant drenching drizzle falling
 as I climbed the steep path just high enough to feel myself drawn into the side of the hill.

Leaving the path I sank onto the damp ground and wept.

I cannot convey the sense of embrace, and peace, I experienced then,
as the earth itself seemed to mirror my pain and weariness,
and comfort me.

Now, here I was this time,
 having got to the top,
sitting on the lower slopes of the huge mound
 caressed by spring sunshine, with my husband by my side,
 and my great grand son playing photographer.

Although I am not carrying anything like the burden I was that day in the  rain,
 there are still painful, demanding, things
waiting for us when we return from our trip to the top.


There are few times in life, it seems to me,
when we are living with an un-interrupted view from the top,
where all is peace and radiant with beautiful horizons.

At the moment those closest to us are each caught up
 in difficult and uncertain circumstances.

 This week has been especially stressful.

It would be so easy to slip back into the fear that has so often bound me in the past,
and robbed me of peace.

Strangely the greatest temptation is to feel that I should be fearful and anxious
in the face of what is happening.

I remembered the word I had received for this year was
thinking ruefully how much that has already been tested,
 yet thankfully, wonderfully, held.

In the instant the thoughts and emotions formed, other words arose,

 from Ps. 31:14-17
But I trust in you, Lord;
    I say, “You are my God.”

 My times are in your hands;
deliver me from the hands of my enemies,
from those who pursue me.
 Let your face shine on your servant;
save me in your unfailing love.

The situation of my loved one had not, and has not, changed,
but the view from the top is to carry the peace of trust down
 into the testing place of faith
where the horizons are narrowed with threat of one sort or another.

Our times may not be in our own hands yet we may trust ourselves 
and each other to that higher, wider view,
obscured to us.


I pray that where you, like me, may be tempted to fear or despondency, 
you may be strengthened by the Spirit to
 hope and peace.

Be Blessed

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Creative Gear

Cabins in the Woods, Minnesota      Oil on Canvas                                                                    Hazel Price

When I drop my granddaughter and my two adorable great grand children off at their home,(redundant adjective.  All great grandchildren are adorable)
 I have developed the habit of driving straight on to the forecourt,
 and then twiddling the car around by means of the forward and reverse gears,
 (at least that's what they called it when I passed my test some fifty years ago),
 to enable me to drive straight out again.

The other evening, Zach, at seven the oldest of the two adorable great grand children asked, 
 "Nan.  Why do you always do this funny turn on the drive?" 

As I don't do it anywhere else, and would normally simply reverse in
 I was stumped for an answer.
 ( I have since wondered if it isn't so that I prolong our time together by a few minutes.)

But before I could come up with an answer he continued,
 " Oh!  I know!  It's because you are an artist and creative people always try different ways.
  There is no such thing as the wrong way to an artist is there Nan?"

To which I did answer,
"You are right!
 How would we ever find new things if we kept doing them the old ways?"

The point is, I don't know where he had heard that,
 or who had taught it to him,
but what a wonderful gift of knowledge to have; 
 not just at seven years of age but at any age.

It came as a gift to me I can tell  you.

Even after all these years the critical voice of "reason" still nags.
  It's the cold voice that breathes an icy blast on our creativity,
 whichever way we express it.

So, I hand the gift on.

You don't need an audience, (though one is nice).
It need not be a masterpiece.
It may only be a beginning,( because every minute of creating is just that).
But do it anyway!

May you be free to follow the sweet voice of intuition today;
(baking a cake, walking the dog, visiting a friend, giving that talk...)
free to strike out in the way that gives you joy,
to dance your dance, and sing your song,
so your spirit may grow in freedom,
and the voice of creation be heard through you today.

Be Blessed

P.S.    Can't remember if I've posted this painting before.  Memories of my time in the hermitage.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

More Stuff Bubbling Up...

This really is going to be brief.

It's just another take on those roses I sketched and painted
 a week ago.

I like it for the colours,
but hubby prefers the first drawing I did.

I wonder which one you prefer?

God Bless

P.S.  Not sure how this got posted. 
 It was a draft made in a series about drawing some time ago.

Saturday, 4 April 2015


Tomb Angel  by Arcabas

 Matt 28:6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.
 Come and see the place where he lay.

This wonderful painting by Arcabas gives us a new vision of the Easter morning.

It shows the women who came to the tomb in the early morning to anoint Jesus' dead body

 being greeted by an angel and an empty tomb.

 Jesus had come through crucifixion and was alive.

I pray if you have an area in your life that seems to offer little hope or expectancy, 

somewhere full of fear and trepidation,
you will look for Jesus as the women did,
 and find that place transformed and glowing with new life and promise.

That is what Jesus resurrection offers us,
right here and right now.

Be Blessed