Monday, 30 April 2012

Finger Knitting and Praying

Rachel has really taken to the idea of praying through doing and today she wanted to do some knitting.

She chose to try with her knitting doll. Again I tried to make it easy for her and again it was fiendishly fiddly and difficult for both of us. Who likes these things?

Rather than give up I suggested teaching her finger knitting; the four wide knitting which makes great lengths of net style knitting. I thought it might be a bit fiddly but she got it immediately and made a long length which she's decided to use as a hair bobble.

I hadn't really noticed that she was doing anything other than knitting, but at bed time she said she had prayed for her friends and everyone she knows on each line. She also said it was "totally relaxing knitting and chatting to God" - get her! Love her!

The Beauty In Church

I love taking pictures of St Nicolas Earley. It's home and family and so much more and photographing it through the seasons is about seeing it renewed.

Tonight it looked so alive; the choir was singing inside and the light was pouring out. It looked inviting and welcoming and that's exactly what our church is known for.

This photo is not stylish or anything spectacular, but to me it captures the beauty within.

Can we enact change?

We were on the Piccadilly Line yesterday travelling back from our day in London and I saw this advert by Amnesty International.

It held my attention for 3 or 4 stops, it had an impact, it resonated deeply within me.

Is it true?
Can we change what happens in Oran by texting, emailing, signing, donating or blogging here?

It was weird to go through these thought processes, this is me. Emma. I blog for many reasons, one of which is trying to make the world a better place. Why do I do it if I don't believe it's possible?

And I realised that I do believe it's true, but it's so seldom you hear anyone else say it as well.

One text from your phone CAN stop a stoning in Iran. I just wish I'd read who to text and what to say.

April Reflections

It's not hard to find reflections this April, I just have to look in the flood waters around the Moat House and Winnersh Cinema and it's all reflected. It's been a wet month, weather wise, which is strange because apparently we're in a drought.

But wet is not a word I would use to describe any other aspect of my April 2012. The start of the month saw one of the most awesome Holy Week and Easters I've experienced; there was depth and life, light and truth, healing and love. There were of course bumps on the road but I'm learning to build ramps over those and continue on my way.

We had a magical week after Easter, spending time just the three of us which we so rarely manage to do these days. It is these times which bring the meaning if life to the full and which we need to make more time for.

Our wedding anniversary quickly followed and I was spoiled rotten by this man who continues to put up with me. I am so blessed to have him and I need to take him for granted less.

Before we knew it we were back to school after spring break but it was with enthusiasm we went. Rachel is happy and confident; Mike seems to have found a way of coping with his crazy busy job and I still get to do all the stuff I love and little if the stuff I don't. (I must do my expenses claim).

And so the fourth month of 2012 has passed and we enter May, a month on the cusp of summer with all the promise if warmth and thriving life. Being Englabd I don't rely on the weather for that, but I can guarantee I'll find it in many other aspects of the month.

Joy of Swimming?

This week BritMums have joined up with the British Gas Free Swims for Britain programme which gives free swimming this summer in support of British Swimming. They are asking us to reflect on The Joy of Swimming, or as they put it ...

The smell of the water, the sounds of laughter, the sight of dads belly-flopping and children splashing – a day out at the swimming pool evokes strong memories of family time and fun.

The trouble is that's not what my memories of childhood swimming are. I dreaded the pain of having to go to the swimming pool and trying not to drown again. I couldn't stand splashing or larking around, and the idea of a party at the pool was a thing horrors are made of.

I did eventually learn to swim, well actually I learned to float but from that came swimming. Now I love swimming, it's my exercise of choice, although I still don't like splashing or too much craziness. It's the way I can swim without pressure on my joints that I love, it's perfect all body workout.

I was determined to help Rachel enjoy swimming from a young age and we did baby swimming with her happily going under water. She went through her 2s and 3s not very impressed with water but by 4 she loved it again and she's great in the water now.

And so now I experience real joy of swimming; as a family we go and lark around and relax in the water and it's a fabulous wind down from all the craziness of life. I can't see myself ever going on a water slide, but wave machines and gentle flukes are all good. It's the thing great family memories are made of.

If you want the opportunity to have a free swim then take advantage of the British Gas Free Swims for Britain programme, by visiting


Today is the first day of RSPCA week; a week when RSPCA focuses on raising income, and awareness of the work they do:
1. Because all animals deserve a life free from hunger and thirst.
2. To protect animals from cruelty and pain
3. So we can act to rescue any animal enduring fear and distress
4. To give animals a new beginning
5. Because supporting RSPCA Week will help us to be here for animals every single day

We adopted our gorgeous cat Sid from the RSPCA 11 years ago and it was one of the best decisions of our lives. They took him in after his previous owner died and cared for him for six months before we came to the centre and he chose us.

And then there's all the work they do protecting animals from harm and cruelty, they are the emergency service for animals and we need to keep their essential work funded.

How can we get involved?
We can either:
1. Fundraise - RSPCA Week fundraising guides are available online at

2. Volunteer at a local centre

3. Attend a local event - all listed online

4. Donate for RSPCA Week - online or at an event

I am going to the local centre where Sid was housed and try not to come home with another cat, it'll be very hard. What will you do?

#365photoproject day 121

Title: beads or sweets?
Date: 30th April 2012
Location: that'd give the game away :)

30th April 2012 John 10:1-10

he Good Shepherd and His Sheep
“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice. But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger’s voice.” Jesus used this figure of speech, but the Pharisees did not understand what he was telling them. Therefore Jesus said again, “Very truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who have come before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep have not listened to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. They will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

This is actually the verses before yesterday's parable of the good shepherd. Here Jesus tells us that we should follow him, the shepherd, to enter the kingdom of heaven. He says that there is no other way to enter, only through Jesus.

This is a blessing to those of us who know and love Jesus; but where does it leave the rest? I hold to the understanding that through Jesus all are saved at the end, the issue is whether we want to experience that joy earlier in our lifetimes.

Buy it, Fight it, Wear your Support for Breakthrough Breast Cancer

This is the 16th year of Fashion Targets Breast Cancer. This year’s posters are again a rallying call to women everywhere to help in the fight against breast cancer.

Did you know:
- FTBC was set up in 1994 by Ralph Lauren, who united the fashion industry to raise awareness and funds for the cause after losing a close friend to the disease.
- One in eight women in the UK will be diagnosed with the disease during their lifetime and Breakthrough’s work in finding the causes, improving health services and finding new and better treatments through research, remains more vital than ever.
- The following amazing women have all fronted the campaign: Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Jerry Hall, Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson, Twiggy & Kylie Minogue.
- The cream of British high street retailers including M&S, River Island, Topshop, Warehouse, Coast, My Wardrobe, Laura Ashley, Debenhams sell bespoke FTBC merchandise throughout the Spring, with a minimum 30% of the sale price being donated to Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
- So far FTBC items have raised more than £12 million for breakthrough breast cancer cause!

The 2012 Fashions
This year there are three beautiful British themes;

Rainbow Fields - Festival Fever,

Royal Affair - Royal Tea Party

and my favourite
Postcard Promenade - Seaside.

What are you waiting for, go and buy your favourite items knowing you're donating money to research into breast cancer. It's a win-win.

Sunday, 29 April 2012

29th April 2012 John 10:11-18

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand is not the shepherd and does not own the sheep. So when he sees the wolf coming, he abandons the sheep and runs away. Then the wolf attacks the flock and scatters it. The man runs away because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me— just as the Father knows me and I know the Father —and I lay down my life for the sheep. I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd. The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life —only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.”

I love being a sheep, known to God entirely and protected from the wolves. I like that I am shepherded and watched over and kept safe from harm. It's especially nice to know this is true for our children when we are not able to be physically with them. Thank you Lord for this reassurance tonight.

#365photoproject day 120

Title: is that apple juice my love?
Date: 29th April 2012
Location: Chinatown, London

#silentsunday 29/04/12

Saturday, 28 April 2012

1500 prayers for the Jubilee Centre in Ndola Zambia

Over the last week I have been making prayer bracelets to take with us to Ndola, Zambia in July. I don't know where the idea came from to make them, which means it's God given. But I know that taking them as gifts for the people we meet there is a physical demonstration of prayer.

I have made 100 of these prayer bracelets and each has at least 15 knots. Each knot is a prayer for The Jubilee Centre and their work in Ndola.

I have estimated that:
100 bracelets
X 15 knots
= 1500 prayers.

That's a lot of prayer to take with us, and they pack tiny which is always an added benefit.

There's also been a great side effect from making these bracelets; every where people have seen me making them they've asked why and I've told them about the trip. From these conversations we're receiving more donated items to take all the time.

Thank you God.

10 top tips for sleepovers

Last night we hosted our first big sleepover. Rachel had two of her BFFs over after school yesterday until 2 O'Clock this afternoon; that's 22 hours of 6 and 7 year old girls.

I knew it would be a whole heap of fun but I also knew it was unlikely to be plain sailing all the way. And I was right, but it was a lot more fun than pain due to wonderful girls, great friendships and some thorough planning beforehand. Although I will be having an early night tonight about an 11pm bed and 530am waking.

It'd be rude to keep all my plans to myself so here are my top ten tips for sleepovers.

1. Pick the friends carefully
This rule is as true for all play dates with more than one friend. I have hosted a couple of disasters which all came down to clashes in personality or jealousy between girls. I have learned how important it is to only have groups of girls if they get along really well and never leave anyone out.

2. Don't expect much sleep
It doesn't matter how much sleep you think you might get, reduce your expectations. It is much easier to enjoy the sleepover if you know you'll all be tired in the morning

3. Get lots of food in the house
Tiredness leads to hunger, for all of you; make sure you have lots of healthy snacks and meals in the house because you're bound to need them. I fed the girls a snack, dinner, fruit, snacks, breakfast, 2nd breakfast, snack, lunch and more fruit.

4. Provide lots of spare pillows
I always give loads of pillows and cushions and the girls always make use of them. It helps them get comfy in their sleeping bags and they often make beds from them. A friend shared this tip with me and it's weird but it seems to be useful.

5. Keep the heating on
Warm kids sleep sounder than cold ones. We have our heating off at night but we always keep it on for sleepovers to help them get sleepy and stay asleep.

6. Limit the sugary snacks
I ignore this tip every time at my own peril; it's so obvious but true that kids full of sugar can't sleep. And kids full of sugar will have a low sugar mood after, it's always good to avoid those.

7. Have 3 or 4 films for them to choose from
Rather than letting the kids select any film they like, perhaps choosing one that might hype them up or scare them, I get a small selection out that they can choose from. I always involve Rachel in this selection and make sure she understands that's all the choice there is.

8. Have an activity planned for every spare hour
I had 10 activities planned for this sleepover and we used 5; that's a sign of great friends. I had baking, crafts, games, DVDs and music. In the end the weather cooperated and they went outside a fair bit and they just entertained themselves a fair amount. But whenever things got fractious I pulled out one of my activities and all was right with the world again.

9. Expect cheekiness
Especially from your own child. I am always amazed how Rachel becomes Queen Bee when she has friends over. She likes to push her boundaries and so her cheek increases. I was shocked when this first happened but now just smile and let most of it pass, accepting it as part of the role of host.

10. Have Fun
Join in the fun, remember what it was to be a child, let the small stuff slide and only clamp down on things that really matter. Expect to learn things about yourself and your child that you never knew before and remember that it is these events that make memories of the years ahead.

28th April 2012 John 6:60-69

Many Disciples Desert Jesus
On hearing it, many of his disciples said, “This is a hard teaching. Who can accept it?”. Aware that his disciples were grumbling about this, Jesus said to them, “Does this offend you? Then what if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before! The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life. Yet there are some of you who do not believe.” For Jesus had known from the beginning which of them did not believe and who would betray him. He went on to say, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has enabled them.”. From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him. “You do not want to leave too, do you?” Jesus asked the Twelve. Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and to know that you are the Holy One of God.”

And so many left Jesus, including Mark but others remained including the twelve disciples. This was clearly a difficult point of acceptance for Jesus' followers and here we see those that chose to stay and those who just couldn't.

Jesus we sometimes stumble with your teaching and we thank you for your patience as you wait for us to return. Amen

#365photoproject day 119

Title: Bean has Flowers
Date: 28th April 2012
Location: Bean Plant

Friday, 27 April 2012

13th December Facts and More

On my birthday

Kate, of The Five Fs Blog, is compiling a list of birthday related information for each day of the year. I have never really looked at what's happened on my birth date and I was tagged so I thought, why not. I have been to wikipedia and a few other haunts and here's what I've found:

When is your birthday?
13th December

Pick three people who share your birthday and share what you know about them.

1. Sara Cox, TV and radio one DJ.
I have known for many years that we share a birthday and when she was the host of the Radio One Breakfast Show I texted in and she wished me a happy birthday. Nice to bring back that memory.

2. Marti Webb, singer and actress.
She has the most amazing voice, individual and eye opening. She was in Cats and Evita and has been in loads of Pantos recently.

3. Sascha Kindred, British Paralympic swimmer.
He has competed at 4 Paralympic games, this being the year of London 2012 it seemed right to pick him. I wonder of he'll compete this year.

Is anyone listed as being born on the same day as you (ie the same year)? If so, what do you know about them?

Now this has been a find and a half, how did I not know that Nicholas McCarthy, the guitarist of Franz Ferdinand was born on the same day as me. How I love that band. As for an interesting fact, we're both born on a Friday the 13th.

List three people who died on your birthday and tell us what you know about them.

1. Ella Baker, civil rights activist in 1930s
I've chosen her because she was both born and died on my birthday, how cool is that. She was also an amazing African-American woman who campaigned for human rights alongside MLK.

2. Wassily Kandinsky, Russian-born French artist
I had never heard of him until Rachel drew her own version of one of his pieces last year; now I'm obsessed with his painting.

3. Donatello, Florentine artist and sculptor
He is most famous for his sculpture of David, a beautiful piece which is in Florence.

List three notable events that took place on your birthday.

1. On the day I was born Malta became a republic within the Commonwealth of Nations.

2. In 1972 Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt began the third and final Extra-vehicular activity (EVA) or "Moonwalk" of Apollo 17. To date they are the last humans to set foot on the Moon.

3. In 1577 Sir Francis Drake sets out from Plymouth, England, on his round-the-world voyage.

Tell us about a holiday that falls on your birthday.

13th December is the Christian Feast of Saint Lucy (283–304), who was a wealthy young Christian martyr. She is the patron saint of those who are blind.

Tiles + Pens = Art

- old kitchen or bathroom tiles
- pens and markers
- glue (optional)
- ribbon (optional)
- stars, hearts, eyes etc (optional)

Let your creativity flow, with words, patterns, pictures, symbols or whatever takes your fancy.

Perhaps draw round your hand.
Or draw your favourite place.
Maybe do a self portrait.
Or just doodle.

The world's your oyster.
Here are some of mine done at various different times and a handprint tree of Rachel's.

#365photoproject 118

Title: weird spider in our house
Date: 27th April 2012
Location: flower pot

The fruits of the spirit

If you've ever had trouble remembering the fruits of the spirit then this is for you.

Encountering Jesus without Paper

I have a daughter, a stereo typical art and craft loving daughter. She chooses to draw, write, colour, stick and generally create from dawn to dusk. When it comes to encountering Jesus she makes life so easy; it's a story, a chat and a paper based craft every time, no bother.

My godson on the other hand is a wonderfully boisterous and energetic boy who would prefer not to be constrained by paper, tables or walls. I adore him for all these reasons and because he's made me find ways of encountering Jesus without paper.

Here are ten ways of encountering Jesus without paper

1. Walk and Talk the Story
Instead of expecting the kids to sit and listen it can work really well to make it interactive. You can have actions incorporated, or set bases to tell the story which you walk round; you can dramatise it or use puppets. Mix it up and keep it interesting.

2. Pick a Question
Many children find it hard to think of a question to ask but will none the less have questions. A great way of dealing with this is to have some questions written on pieces of paper that the kids can pick out of a hat/box at random and ask you.

3. Jesus Says
We all know the game Simon says; well this is the Biblical equivalent. The format can be used for all sorts of stories and situations and the kids love it.
Jesus says touch your toes .... Yes
Jesus says let's pray ... Yes
jump up and down ... No

4. Sorry, Sorry, Forgiven
Have you ever played Duck, Duck, Goose? Well this was amended into Sorry, sorry, forgiven by a friend when she was helping me one week. What an inspired way to play a game and share a message.

5. Hide and Seek the Sheep
Jesus told parables about us being the sheep valued by God the shepherd. This game is hide and seem but getting one child to be God the Shepherd and the others the sheep.

6. Follow the Shepherd
This is follow my leader and can be used for lessons on lost sheep or used as a trust game. All you need is pairs of kids and some blindfolds and let the fun begin.

7. Throw away your sins
We use a parachute at the start of our sessions, we run underneath it to meet each other and then we use it for prayer. We write our sins, or think our sins onto paper; crumple them up and then throw them onto the parachute. With all our might we then throw away our sins and feel the breeze of forgiveness.

8. Pass the Fruit of the Spirit
It's a team game balloon race. First blow up balloons and write the fruits of the spirit on them. Get the kids in two teams and have them passing the balloon over their heads and between their legs as a race.

9. Hunt the Answer
You want the kids to connect with the story, you know they know the answers. So how about hiding answers as pictures or words and get them finding the answers to each question.

10. Gently Does It
Sometimes we need to remember to be gentle with each other physically and emotionally. What better way to learn this than with soft boiled eggs or water balloons. I'd play it outside :)

This is a mere 10 ideas of bringing teaching of Jesus to life, they've worked for me with kids aged 4-10. Give them a go, and have a load of fun.

27th April 2012 John 6:52-59

“Then the Jews began to argue sharply among themselves, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?”. Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise them up at the last day. For my flesh is real food and my blood is real drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me, and I in them. Just as the living Father sent me and I live because of the Father, so the one who feeds on me will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven. Your ancestors ate manna and died, but whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” He said this while teaching in the synagogue in Capernaum.

And for a third day the same passage continues. We get it; we need to accept that Jesus is the bread of life.

Jesus is our food,
our sustenance,
our energy,
our strength,
our nourishment,
our everything.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Station Nine - Jesus falls the third time

Jesus was tired, now he's beyond exhausted.
Jesus was barely walking, now he's stumbling.
Jesus was panting, now he finds it hard to breathe
Jesus can't go on anymore.
Jesus falls.
For the third time Jesus falls.

Now Jesus asks God for help.
For strength.
For courage.
For energy enough.
For the ability to get up.

God answers.
Jesus gets up again.

How do you feel when you stand at this station?

Do you feel the exhaustion?
Do you feel that desperation?
Do you hear Jesus' need for help?
Do you feel God helping?

Have you ever tried hard, harder and harder than ever before but still not been able to win?

What did you do?
Did you give up?
Did you ask for help?
Did you ask God to help you?

Now ask God to be there when you need His help, ask Him to remind you to ask when you are as desperate as Jesus was. God will help you.

Station Eight - Jesus meets the daughters of Jerusalem

Jesus gets up
Jesus takes up the cross again
Jesus continues on the road
Jesus passes the crowds along the road
Then ....
Jesus sees a group of women who are crying

Jesus knows they are crying because they are so sorry for his him. Surely he expects to see people feel his pain.

But Jesus can not let pain go unnoticed. Jesus acts. He goes to the women and speaks to them. He asks them not to cry for him, he tells them to look after their children instead.

How do you feel when you stand at this station?

Do you feel like the women?
Do you feel Jesus' love for these women?
Do you ever feel this sad for others?

When we are sad or stressed or worried it can be easy to only think of ourselves. Jesus shows us that we should think about others. And Jesus helps us know how this can help us have hope as well as help the other person.

Ask Jesus to help you when you are sad for yourself. Ask him to show you others who need your help.

Station Seven - Jesus falls the second time

Jesus is tired
Jesus is weak
Jesus is loosing all his strength
Jesus is not wanting to take another step
But ....
Jesus keeps walking
He keeps taking another step
He keeps carrying the cross
Until ....
Jesus falls again

Jesus fell once and he kept going, now he's fallen again.
Will he get up?
Does he have any more energy?
What happens if he's too tired?

How do you feel when you stand at this station?

Do you feel Jesus' exhaustion?
Do you feel Jesus' sadness?
Have you ever felt this tired?
Have you ever just had to stop?

We all have things in life we find difficult. Perhaps they're physically hard, or maybe we don't know how to start. Do you keep trying? Or do you give up? What will Jesus do now?

Jesus fell but we know he didn't stop trying, as we sit with him ask him to bring his strength to you in something you're finding hard.

Station Six - Veronica wipes the face of Jesus

Jesus is tired,
Jesus is exhausted,
Jesus is sweaty,
Jesus is hot and dirty
Jesus is still walking with the cross
Then a woman comes out of the crowd and wipes Jesus' face
Jesus leaves the mark of his face on her cloth.

This is a station of surprises for us which reminds us about the way people care for each other.

Again we are reminded that Jesus is God, that he leaves a mark in the world that can't be removed or washed away.

How do you feel when you stand at this station?
Do you feel Jesus' sweat and exhaustion?
Do you want to go help him?
Do you feel glad this woman stepped forward?
Do you worry what will happen to her?

Have you ever helped someone else or done something that made someone feel better?

Perhaps you smiled, or shared your lunch of gave some water or helped with a heavy bag?

When you help someone, you help Jesus. When you share yourself with others, you share yourself with God.

Jesus loves us and asks us to love others, he leaves his face on our heart and we can share this.

Bible: bread or cake?

What is your bible to you?

Is it a bread every day
Or a cake for Sunday?
Is it well worn and read
Or pristine and protected?

Is it accessible easily
Or filed away nicely?
Is it marked up with notes
Or in its plastic coat?

Is it one of dozens
Or just your great cousins?
Is it something you know
Or something on show?

The bible was written
To help out hearts quicken
Whilst nice on the shelves
It needs to be read by ourselves

Pick up your bible
Give it a read
Allow it to settle
And be your daily feed.

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

I have just finished reading a truly remarkable book, The knitting circle by Ann Hood. It's a book that more people should read.

I have to warn you that it is extraordinarily sad and that I sobbed my way through the first quarter, if not more.

The book follows a mum in the first year after the death of 5 year old daughter. It is sad, painful and endlessly real.

Unsurprisingly, from the title, the mum joins a knitting circle through which she moves in her grief. There she encounters other people who have experienced loss and learns with and from them.

I am recommending this book to anyone who walks alongside bereaved parents; it has so much truth in it about how life feels when a child dies. I also recommend it to you if you're studying loss or grief or change as part of a psychology or counselling course. It's a reality check on the theory you'll learn.

But please, don't blame me if you decide to start knitting it, it's a known side effect.

No! Don't give contraceptive pill at chemists

There has been a trial in London of giving the contraceptive pill to over 16 year olds at the chemist - by a registered pharmacist. It has apparently resulted in a reduced number of requests for the morning after pill and is therefore being heralded a success. Possibly yes, but what about the bigger issues?

- The contraceptive pill is not a risk free drug which we can all take without thought. When you see a doctor to get the pill they know your medical history, can ask you about your family history and take that into account when prescribing. How will a pharmacist take all these issues into account?

- the pill must be PART of a number of methods of protection used to protect yourself from Sexually Transmitted Infections. How will this information be given to the girl asking for contraception?

- where is the emotional care aspect of this policy? Making the decision to have a sexual relationship needs care and attention, I wish I'd been more sure; how will this be provided?

I am not naive, I know teenagers have sex; but let's make sure their physical, emotional and long term health is looked after.

Miscarriage to Ministry #3

This is the last of three posts which I feel called to write about how I moved from miscarriage to ministry. It's my testimony, it's my story and I just hope it might be what someone somewhere needs to hear.

Sometimes in tragedy we find our life's purpose.

I started volunteering from the miscarriage association before I was finally pregnant with Rachel; I wanted to help others the way I had been helped. I took calls from women who had had miscarriages and just listened and provided reassurance.

I knew this was a change in my life, that I was meant to leave my engineering career behind and start helping people in some way. I just didn't know how. All I knew was that I was having a purpose in life.

The day Rachel was born was special, obviously becoming a mum is amazing and life changing. But it was also the the end of my old life and the start of a new one. That first night I stayed awake watching her sleep and felt myself change. I had made it through tragedy and despondency and now had a new life ahead of me.

It's been 6 years and 8 months and in that time I've done a degree in psychology, a certificate in counselling and followed a calling into ministry. I have found my life's purpose and love every second.

#365photoproject day 117

Title: growing things
Date: 26th April 2012
Location: sunny windowsill

26th April 2012 John 6:44-51

“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day. It is written in the Prophets: ‘They will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard the Father and learned from him comes to me. No one has seen the Father except the one who is from God; only he has seen the Father. Very truly I tell you, the one who believes has eternal life. I am the bread of life. Your ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness, yet they died. But here is the bread that comes down from heaven, which anyone may eat and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

How bizarre; yesterday was the feast of St Mark the Evangelist and today we hear the very words Jesus said which resulted in Mark, and many others of the 70, turning away from Jesus in doubt. I know the lectionary has a good reason for this, it's for us to find it.

Perhaps it's a reminder that even the most revered spiritual men go through periods of doubt.

Perhaps it's telling us that we are all welcomed back into God's arms - as we will be reminded on Sunday again.

Perhaps it's to keep us close to the fact that Jesus is indeed the bread of life and that this might be a hard thing to come to accept but it's the truth.

For me I struck by a bit of all of this and am thankful for the opportunity to engage with it again.