From where I sit…

‘From where I stand’ was the title of the women’s conference hosted by King’s Church in Bangor this weekend. We were encouraged by guest speaker Sarah Bessey to love Jesus and love his Church, to stand fearlessly as women where we are and to dare to make a difference for the kingdom.

We also heard the stories of women who had lived through abuse; women who had followed God’s promptings in their lives, whether to start a drop-in coffee shop in Bangor where all are welcome or to live in a country where it is dangerous to be a Christian; women who fight for social justice; women who foster unwanted or neglected children.   We heard from women who are on the frontline for Jesus right now; and we also shared stories about mental health issues.

The common thread throughout all of these stories was that each of us can dare to stand today, wherever we are, and bring Jesus into our lives and into the lives others – even those of us who are broken and struggling and not sure what the future holds. Jesus comes to where we are, he makes a difference in our lives and he uses us to make a difference in the lives of others.

So today I am sitting at home and I’m thankful:        rocking chair

  • thankful for what I heard over the weekend from so many women and for the reminder that we can all bring Jesus into our lives from where we stand.


  • thankful also for International Women’s Day last week when we were reminded of women who have made a difference in our lives. I am grateful for the many women who have influenced me throughout my life, mentoring me before mentoring was a buzz word, just pouring their love into me and believing in me.


  • thankful for Mother’s Day today and the privilege-beyond-belief of being a mum to two young women who are bringing Jesus to where they stand and also embracing motherhood at the same time – one has just become a mum and the other is about to become a mum. It has been such a joy to mother them and it is such an incredible privilege to become a grandmother to their children. 

So, wherever you stand today – whether you are standing fearlessly as a dangerous woman of God; whether you  are feeling broken because of abuse or mental health issues or other challenges; whether you are a mum or not – know this:

God has created you in the image of God, as a beloved child of God, with a unique set of gifts and skills. He delights in you and sings love songs over you. He whispers courage in your ear and asks you to dare to stand where you are, for him.


Snow has fallen…

The current cold snap in the UK brings to the fore both good news and bad news.snowy seat

While there are horror stories of people being caught in freezing conditions – and tragic  loss of life – there are also great stories of people helping each other out: a stranded bridegroom getting a lift to his wedding; a young husband delivering his wife’s baby at the side of the road; not to mention an NHS physiotherapist I happen to know who walked 4 miles to work.

In my own place of work, there were fewer of us than usual present because some people hadn’t been able to make it in. But among those who were there, there was an air of camaraderie, of being in this together, watching out for one another, making sure we were OK.

It strikes me that many of us in the UK currently suffer not much more than having to stay indoors – maybe having to reduce our social calendars and postpone some events we were looking forward to. But then we find that the enforced time indoors actually does us a lot of good. We curl up by the fire, eat some homemade food and actually spend some time together. The pressure of social engagements is removed and life slows down. And we find ourselves enjoying the slower pace of life, the time to reconnect with each other.                                  cosy

So…..before we return to our frenetic lifestyles, what would you like to learn from this cold snap? Looking out for one another in our communities is an obvious one. But what one little change could you make to your lifestyle in order to carry some of the goodness of this week into next week or next month?

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Combine in bowl, for marinade:                  

1 egg, beaten

1 tbsp sugar

1 tbsp soy sauce

Add to marinade and let stand 20-30 minutes:

500g chicken, diced

Prepare and set aside:

1 clove garlic, minced

4 slices ginger root, finely chopped

1 green pepper, cut in chunks

1 onion, cut in wedges

1 tomato, cut in wedges

3/4 cup pineapple chunks, drained (reserve juice)

Combine and set aside:

3 tbsp vinegar

3 tbsp brown sugar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cornflour

3/4 cup pineapple juice

Heat in a wok or skillet:

4 tbsp oil

Dredge chicken pieces in cornflour and fry in oil till brown.

Remove from wok and keep warm.

Stir-fry garlic, ginger, peppers and onions 2-3 minutes.

Add tomato chunks, pineapple chunks and sauce ingredients.

Cook just until sauce thickens and clears.

Return chicken to wok, heat to bubbling, and serve immediately with rice.

Onions and peppers should be partially crisp.



Spicy Lentil Soup

2 large carrots grated (or diced if preferred )
1 red or yellow pepper chopped finely
1 onion chopped finely
1 ounce red lentils
I tin chopped tomatoes
300 mls stock
1 teaspoon Tabasco ( or to taste)
1 teaspoon mixed herbs

Sauté carrots ,onions and pepper with mixed herbs in a little olive oil for a few minutes.
Add all the rest of the ingredients. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until lentils are soft.
Can be served as it is if you like a chunky soup or blend if you like a smoother consistency.
Serve with a dollop of yoghurt and sprinkle of parsley or coriander.

Emmanuel – just for Christmas?

Scrolling through social media, here are some of the comments I have noticed as the year draws to a close:



That’s all till next year – thank goodness summer’s coming.

Say good bye to December. Hello to giving your January a little boost. 

Leave a positive word I can carry into 2018.


If I asked the question ‘What one word describes how you feel as you enter a new year?’ I wonder what you would say? Some of my friends said:









If I’m honest, I have always struggled between Christmas and New Year. The excitement of Christmas has gone with the tree lights and the tinsel. Now the cold, dark nights of the long month of January loom ahead. I remember at school writing a poem about this time of year and visualising it as a snowy field – untrodden, white, unknown. The poem didn’t impress my teacher – but the sentiments described how I felt.

So we may be happy or hopeful or anxious or fearful – and we may have good reasons to be all of those things in the course of this New Year.

What a relief, then, that our adventure into 2018 does not depend on our feelings. The Christ-child we have just celebrated at Christmas was the One whose coming changed everything for us. He is Emmanuel – God with us. Pause and think about that for a moment. Let the wonder of it soak into your soul. God is with us.

GOD is with us.

God IS with us.

God is WITH us.

God is with US.

Paul Tripp, in his devotional ‘Come let us adore him’, says this: ‘My prayer is that as you live with the glory of a birth-of-Jesus mentality, it will cause you to carry with you the security of a child-of-God identity’.

That truth is what provides the security I need as I step into 2018, regardless of my feelings.

Happy New Year!

God is with us!




Why did Jesus come? (part 5)

Advent 4Love bade me welcome

George Herbert, 15931633

Love bade me welcome: yet my soul drew back,
	Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
	From my first entrance in,
Drew nearer to me, sweetly questioning
	If I lacked anything.

“A guest," I answered, “worthy to be here”:
	Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
	I cannot look on thee.”
Love took my hand, and smiling did reply,
	“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marred them; let my shame
	Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not," says Love, “who bore the blame?”
	“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down," says Love, “and taste my meat.”
	So I did sit and eat.

Why did Jesus come? (part 4)

It’s the fourth Sunday of Advent and we are exploring the theme of why Jesus came.

Advent 4‘The Word became flesh and blood,
    and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
    the one-of-a-kind glory,
    like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
    true from start to finish.’

John 1:14 in The Message

Why did Jesus come? Because his Father sent him to be the Saviour of the world and in that supreme act of obedience to his Father, Jesus brought glory to God.

Not everyone recognised his glory. Some laughed; some mocked; some were suspicious; some were not interested.

‘But whoever did want him,
    who believed he was who he claimed
    and would do what he said,
He made to be their true selves,
    their child-of-God selves.
These are the God-begotten,
    not blood-begotten,
    not flesh-begotten,
    not sex-begotten.’

And as he makes us become our true selves, our ‘child-of-God selves’, he brings glory to God – the one-of-a-kind glory – and we get to be part of his amazing story.

O Come, All Ye Faithful! (John Francis Wade, 1751)

O come, all ye faithful, Joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem;
Come and behold him, Born the King of angels;
O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him,
O Come, let us adore him, Christ the Lord.
God of God, Light of Light,
Lo! he abhors not the Virgin’s womb:
Very God, Begotten, not created;
Sing, choirs of angels, Sing in exultation,
Sing, all ye citizens of heaven above;
Glory to God In the highest;
See how the shepherds, Summoned to his cradle,
Leaving their flocks, draw nigh to gaze;
We too will thither Bend our joyful footsteps;
Child, for us sinners, Poor and in the manger,
We would embrace thee, with love and awe;
Who would not live thee, Loving us so dearly?
Yea, Lord, we greet thee, Born this happy morning;
Jesus, to thee be glory given; Word of the Father,
Now in flesh appearing;