31.1.20

Allotment 5B: We live and learn.

Today I got some supplies for the allotment. I decided to drop them off. Unfortunately I arrived to find the garden house Ezra and I had put up had blown over. Not only over, but in fact bits of metal had some how snapped. I had not expected the thing to be so flimsy. We live and learn. I presume it was the wind that decimated it and spread everything across the entire allotment. A bird table at work had similarly smashed as a result of the winds of late. It has been one of those days.


20.1.20

Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.
Hate multiplies hate,
violence multiplies violence,
and toughness multiplies toughness
in a descending spiral of destruction....
The chain reaction of evil --
hate begetting hate,
wars producing more wars --
must be broken,
or we shall be plunged
into the dark abyss of annihilation.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Strength To Love, 1963



Like anybody, I would like to live a long life.
Longevity has its place.
But I'm not concerned about that now.
I just want to do God's will.
And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain.
And I've looked over.
And I've seen the promised land.
I may not get there with you.
But I want you to know tonight,
that we, as a people will get to the promised land.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 
I've Been To The Mountaintop, April 3, 1968

(Image Source: mlkonline.net) 

18.1.20

The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 13: Three Little Birds

My three little good things of the day were:


  1. A drive to our favourite wee town, North Berwick, with the kids.
  2. Lunch in our favourite quirky coffee shop by the fire. 
  3. A copy of the complete Winnie the Pooh collection out of a charity shop. 
 

17.1.20

Allotment 5B: The Fun Begins

Still no idea what I'm doing, but today I took my wee boy to the allotment and put up the garden house.




15.1.20

The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 10: As If!

The hero I am thinking about in this exercise is Martin Luther King. The feeling it creates is the Prophetic or Righteous. I'm not sure if that is a feeling as such, but it is the only way I can describe it.

Here is the link for today's Happiness Challenge.


14.1.20

The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 9: Count Your Kindness

Day 9 already!

Another challenge has arrived that initially made me think, "I can't boast though." Which is correct.

However, someone recently wrote a message on the board at work:
"Know your worth and know you're valued in all you do."

I'm beginning to see the difference between acknowledgement and boasting. Also sometimes people are quick to consider effectively counting their sins, but neglect to count their kindnesses (which are a gift from God).

So here is a list of 7 opportunities God has given me to express kindness recently (I chose 7 as it is my favourite number and said to be the perfect number):


  1. The opportunity to be a listening ear for someone struggling with mixed emotions. 
  2. The opportunity to be a word of comfort and listening ear to someone in bereavement. 
  3. The opportunity to try and help someone with spiritual matters and signpost other help available. 
  4. The opportunity to have a job in the care sector that is all about kindness.
  5. Kisses and cuddles with my babies. 
  6. Being hospitable to visitors. 
  7. Acknowledging others with my wee phrase "You are appreciated."

Soli Deo Gloria. 



11.1.20

The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 6: Do a Happiness Replay

I love today's challenge. My positive moment in time was an autumn day when I was sweeping leaves on Kilravock Castle grounds.

These are some feelings in that moment:

Contentment. The gentle breeze touched my cold red cheeks. The leaves rustled as I walked and swept the drive way up to the Scottish Castle, my home and job of those years. A crisp beautiful sound comes from the leaves. It reminds of childhood and a simpler time. I could do this job forever. Not only because I suspected a gust of wind would mess up what I started (and frankly didn't mind), but also I found something I enjoyed. Hard work outside. It was a job of solitude suited to a contemplative introvert such as I. One of many tasks. But, a special one that made me feel useful and one with the wild wooded Highlands of autumn around me. I felt at home, though I always knew the Castle was not my home, but the home of an ancient clan. Though I simply worked there I found home, not in Castle walls, but in the beauty of nature. I found a moment of contentment.

What is your happiness replay?


10.1.20

The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 5: Amplify Your Strengths

As a Highlander I am often inclined less to talk about or even admit to having any strengths. This makes today's happiness exercise a bit of a challenge.

As a follower of Jesus I am also, like St Paul, not interested in boasting in anything, but the love Christ has for us. However, on balance I reflect on Jesus' own golden rule, "Love thy neighbour as thy self." The implication is not only that we love neighbours, but love ourselves. If we love ourselves we will acknowledge His blessings on our lives. After all are we not created in His image?

So I'm approaching this not to boast in anything, but the blessing God has given. His love, his divine spark, that of Him. I am acknowledging the gifts he has given. These strengths for me include:

  1. Smiling (a person who works for the same company as me always comments on this). 
  2. Laughter
  3. Compassion 
  4. Empathy
  5. Being an introvert (yes it is also a strength).
  6. Singing 
  7. Pursuit of peace 
  8. An unusual sense of humour 
  9. Love for nature 
  10. Family oriented 




9.1.20

Still Waters

One of my favourite verses of recent years has been "Be Still and Know that I Am God." Although it doesn't specifically mention silence I sense that it is implied. How can we hear from God if we never shut up, if we never close out the noise of life, if we never even Sabbath for a few minutes. Home life is not very silent with one baby and one toddler and the blessing of demands for attention. I would not change that for the world. I love my wee family and they deserve a Father or Husband who gives them good attention. There is also now a demand for TV from our toddler (which as Wilkerson put it can seem like a sewer running through your living room, I wonder what that makes smart phones for us adults). Then my job as a Support Worker is hardly silent and certainly not that of calm solitude. Again I am greatful to God that I have the provision of a job. The church I go to is fairly upbeat. I love lively Christianity, so again I am greatful for the style of church I'm in. However, I also deeply love the still, the calm, the silence, the place where I find God best as both a contemplative and introvert sort. In a fast paced loud world finding time for silence is a worthwhile challenge. I pray God guides me and all who thirst for it to his still waters.


The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 4: Remember Your Enchantments


  1. Gentle streams. 
  2. Mountains of wonder. 
  3. Trees. 
  4. Wild flowers. 
  5. Butterflies. 
  6. Otters. 
  7. Birds of prey. 
  8. Coral beaches. 
  9. Shells. 
  10. Sunsets and sunrises.


7.1.20

God of Wonders

What is in a name? - God of Wonders

Names in the bible are significant. e.g. David mears, beloved by God and man. And so king David was.
Jesus asks who do you say I am? A question to his disciples, but also all of us? He says the father's name ist o be hallowed (see the Lord's prayer) and that he and
the Father are one. So we should meditate on the holiness of his names. There are hundreds of names for God. They each provide a rich blessing of description.
One such name is: God of Wonders

The hymn says "God of wonders, beyond our galaxy, You are holy."

It is worth thinking on any wonder, no
matter how seemingly small, that we are blessed with in life.

God operates in both the magnificent out of the ordinary (e.g. Acts 2:19) and in the everyday. This God of resurrection wonder (Eph l:20) not only raised Christ, but daily raises up those in need. His blessings
are new every morning. He not only is a creative life giver at the beginning (ls 44:24), but continues to be
now. He promises that all things can be made new (Is42:9) and all creation is groaning like a woman in birth
pains for it. He and His kingdom are coming little by little, wonder, by wonder for he is the God of Wonders and is truly wonderful.


(Also appeared in the Primitive Quaker Journal, The Call).


The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 2: See Beauty

As I look out the window...

At a glance the phrase "What a miserable day" would be normality. Grey sky, grey buildings, dirty old cars. But, then if one looks closer it is so different. 

In the midst of grey and dirt is beauty. In the distance trees that have lost leaves blow gently in the wind. Then there are pine trees and bushes full of a huge variety of different greens, all thriving on the rainy weather. As they find nourishment so does my pen. 

Closer I see someone has hung purple and pink flowers by their front door. How do they thrive at this time of year? Are they real? I question myself. 

Standing close by a weather beaten shed is consumed by vines and greenery. Nature sometimes takes over where man has been. 

Much closer to the window is a hedge and then a ramp. The fence on the ramp is covered in yellow flowers. Yellow is my favourite colour. So bright, so vibrant. 

If we look hard enough we can see beauty, if we just allow ourselves. 

As I look out the window.

Where do you see beauty? Join the writers happiness challenge.


6.1.20

Allotment 5B: Do I know what I'm doing? Any advice?

Recently we acquired a garden allotment primarily for the growing of food.


It is a fair bit from where we live in Edinburgh. It's in Penicuik, Midlothian to be exact. However, we love Peebles in the Scottish Borders and it is a pit stop on the way. So really it is ideal for us. To be honest I am a complete newbie and have no idea how to go about this. I'm just trying to be optimistic and at least give it a go for the year. It is amazingly cheap as rent goes. Not sure about the rest of things. But, we shall see. It's almost like social media knew because I kept getting adverts for gardening courses. I'm going to try running an allotment as a hobby to start with anyway.

I saw a thing online about collecting seeds for the seasons and filling a tin. As it happens I collect tins. So I got some gardening magazines. All ones giving away a good amount of seeds. One also came with a wall chart.



The adventure begins. Any advice from people is warmly welcome.




The 2020 Writers Happiness Challenge Day 1: Drop Yourself a Key

Hi David,

Talking to yourself is a sign of something according to some, but never mind. You are hereby hence forth and forever more given permission to take time in each day to yourself. Be the beautiful introvert you are and allow yourself to be alone doing something you enjoy at least once a day.

God bless.

Love and best wishes,
future David

What do you need to give yourself permission for? Join the writers happiness challenge 2020.


A Selection of Prayers

A Prayer of Praise

Sweet Jesus, thank you for the love you give.
Thank you for teaching us to laugh,
to cry.
Thank you for teaching us to dance,
to kneel.
Thank you for teaching us to shout,
to be silent.
Thank you for teaching us to say Hallelujah,
to say help.
Thank you for teaching us to be bold,
to be calm.

Most of all thank you for your love,
and teaching us to accept and share love.

Praise the Lord!!!
Amen

Prayer of Love

God of Love,
Thank you that you are love itself.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus was born.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus lived a perfect and holy life.

We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus taught us to love.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus taught us to love God.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus taught us to love each other.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus taught us to love even our enemies.

We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus died for us.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus took the punishment for all our sins.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus defeated death and rose again.
We praise you that it was for Love that your Son Jesus set us free.

We praise you that love incarnate will come again and thank you that you are love itself.

In the name of the Son of Love,

Amen

Prayer for Peace

God of love, whose gospel is peace.
We pray that through your divine love, that peace would come. 
Together we say, May Peace Prevail on earth. 
In saying this we also know that we are to be your hands and feet in this world. 
Therefore, loving God, enable us to be the change we wish to see in the world around us. 
Let us be witnesses for peace and let our peace testimony have an impact on the whole world. 
All for your glory and the improvement of the human race.

In the name of our Sweet Prince of Peace,

Amen

Love

Love. That splendid word. Thank you, Father.

You are graciously loving us.

You are love.

This is such a beautiful thought. 
Teach us to understand it and live in the light of it.

Continue to show us how to love.
To love others and to love you.

Love.
That splendid word.

Thank you, Father.

(Also appeared as a guest post at Reflections Online).


4.1.20

Australia is burning. How can we help? 5 practical ideas.

As a UK blogger with both friends and family in Oz seeing images and footage of these fires is unsettling. As with most crisis in the world one often wonders what on earth to do to help people. There are probably other bloggers, journalists and writers who address this question better than me. However, here is some imput from me. I hope it can be useful to someone.

1. As a Christian blogger one thing I can't ignore is that we must pray. Ask God to be with those who are putting out fires, with those who have lost much and those suffering. Ask got to literally open the flood gates of heaven and insure that the gates of hell do not prevail.

2. Reach out to folks you know in Australia on Social Media or whatever way is most practical for you. Make sure they are OK. If they are then praise God. If not ask if there is any way you can serve them.

3. Accept that the young girl, Greta Thunberg, and others like her, including much of the scientific community (no doubt fellow Christians among them) are not kidding about global warming! Do not shrug them off as too Atypical, too youthful, or too radical. Because they are not, and all these attributes are asets anyway. Accept that we all have a responsibility to try to care for God's creation better.

4. Give to a wildlife charity, such as WWF Australia.

"URGENT: Bushfires are burning across the country. Over 480 million animals are believed to have been killed, including thousands of koalas. Over 4 million hectares has been burnt in NSW alone since September 2019. Your support is needed to help restore homes and care for injured wildlife."

5. Give to a charity on the ground helping humans, such as Australia's Red Cross.

"Parts of Australia are experiencing unprecedented bushfire activity.
Since July 2019, Red Cross teams have responded to 30 emergencies (some of which have been going for up to 6 weeks) and supported well over 16,500 people, through the efforts of more than 1,480 volunteers and staff."

I do hope these ideas may be of use to someone out there. If it is please do spread the word.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. God bless.

Image source:
publicdomainpictures.net

Rise

There is a song with the lyric "l get
knocked down, but I get up
again..."
In turn I like the image of a
Phoenix rising from the ashes. [t
makes me think how rve Christians
should never accept defeat.
Indeed our Lord has conquered
that eviltrinity of the world, the
t'lesh and the devil. He made a
spectacle of death. His enemies
had him marked down as defeated,
crushed forever. but he rose again
in victory and still rises.
He too encourages us. though
stoms may rage. to rise from the
rubble. To run and not gror.v
weary, to r.valk and not faint, to
mount up on wings like eagles! So
rise up church, roar like a mighty
lion! ln Christ we have the
victory!

(Also appeared as a guest post in the Primitive Quaker Journal, The Call).


3.1.20

Prayer for Peace

God of Love, whose Gospel is Peace.
We pray that through your Divine Love, that Peace would come. Together we say, May Peace Prevail on Earth. In saying this we also know that we are to be your hands and feet in this world. Therefore, loving God, enable us to be the change we wish to see in the world around us. Let us be witnesses for peace and let our peace testimony have an impact on the whole world. All for your glory and the improvement of the human race.
In the name of our Sweet Prince of Peace,
Amen.

(Also appeared as a guest post at Poetry Corner in 2009).


1.1.20

Love - That Splendid Word

Love. That splendid word. Thank you, Father.
You are graciously loving us.
You are love.
This is such a beautiful thought. Teach us to understand it and live in the light of it.
Continue to show us how to love.
To love others and to love you. Love.
That splendid word.
Thank you, Father.

(Also a guest post on Br Michael Daly's blog in 2015).


Bliadhna Mhath Ùr

Happy New year to all site visitors. May 2020 bring blessings to you and yours.