Thursday, 26 September 2013

Blog of the Week or not?

I having neglected this little corner of the blogosphere  over the Summer. I can't think how I've managed to miss that two of my most stalwart 'blogrollers,' who whilst my back was turned have diversified, expanded, branched out with new and additional blogs  all every bit as inspiring as the originals. First off, Mike F of The Mercy Blog, who's now to be found at Silent Assemblies, followed by Antonia of The Love That Moves The Sun; do check out her eye-catching  collection of quotations - Cupcakes of Thought (I'll leave you to find out how she thought up the blog title!)

It's making me wonder if there's mileage in reviving my old Blog of The Week feature; whether doing so will give my bloggery more of a focus or simply add to my  arsenal of procrastination tools. INFPs rule, OK?

If the answer's yes, this is its grand launch. Rather fitting to begin with Mike F as I think his was the first blog given the Greenpatch vote of approval years ago.

What do you all think?

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Updated Underpinnings - A guide for the journey

I've updated my spiritual underpinnings section with much puffing, blowing, letting out of panels and replacement of worn elastic. Do have a look through my 'spiritual drawers' at A guide for the journey - spiritual direction.

Please excuse the levity. When you've  typed out the word 'spiritual' several dozen times, you get to thinking how very very silly it looks!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Labyrinth Lessons

Flying by to direct you to a link a friend just pointed me towards: Persistence, forgiveness, humility and much more, what Deb Vaughan of An Unfinished Symphony has learnt from Building a labyrinth.

Friday, 20 September 2013

As long as we're living

The Unfolding Pamphlet on Change - Ribbonwood Designs

"...change will be happening."

I can certainly vouch for that! Like the proverbial buses that are conspicuous by their absence, before several appear all at once, the CH word is looming large in my life at the moment.  Someone, somewhere seems to be muddling up the seasons; I was under the impression that Spring was the time for new beginnings and here we are edging our way into the season "of mists and mellow fruitfulness." 

Well, maybe the bus analogy isn't entirely accurate, given that I have had some warning of most of the changes afoot in the GP support network.  The first came totally out of the blue,  however, and when it struck several months  ago, by some wonderful serendipity this little leaflet The Unfolding Pamphlet on Change by Trish Harris came to my notice. It was the vivid, colourful artwork that first  attracted me, that and its  simplicity -  as it unfolds the process and impact of change on our lives and offers us ways in which we might begin to engage and live with  it. I bought a bundle of leaflets on impulse and have been giving copies away ever since.  To date it's helped me avoid the wobbles; I've been remarkably calm about the whole process, even found it quite exciting: change can herald growth after all.

Though I suspect some of this calmness might be covering shock. After the latest goodbye the other night, to a good friend and one third of our giggle and gossip group prayer triplet, I had to fight off a distinctly unBritish quivering lip. The next Ch event, coming up way faster than we'd anticipated, is that of GP daughter moving abroad;  even more seismic potential there, except that the whole process is moving so fast that I think we'll not have the opportunity to have a wibbly fit  until after she's gone.

So...deep breath...keep calm and carry on.

Monday, 16 September 2013

All is safely gathered in?

image from

How Harvest Festival has changed. Especially when most churches in  our area have a foodbank collection point. Especially as our seemingly prosperous little town has need of a foodbank - Pip Wilson's reflections are making me realise again  that there  are more types of poverty than the obvious ones.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Summer Wanderings: Bikes, Buddhists Bunting and Birds

Welcome back to the blog after the Summer break. And what a Summer it was this year! Sun, sea,  soggy sand, (which Mr GP had to pull me out of!) and...silliness. Well, not the last, but  I had to find something else beginning with the same letter. Here's a quick tour of what I've called the Summer of the volunteer.

Souvenir from LEL 2013 - Control Eskdalemuir

First off, we caught two  trains  and a bus to  the wilds of Eskdalemuir in Scotland to join the doughty team of volunteers supporting thousands of cyclists riding the LEL London-Edinburgh London cycle event. How do you begin to describe such a mammoth undertaking? Mr GP rode in this four years ago; this time he wanted to experience it from the other side. We'd deliberately chosen this remote location, because of it being one we'd passed through several years previously on our Durham-Iona walk. Also due to to the nearby presence of the Samye Ling Buddhist monastery and Tibetan centre: a wonderfully peaceful place to wander round between shifts; the fact that they have a great coffee shop is neither here nor there... I'll keep you any  longer, but in true Blue Peter style, pass you on to something somebody else made earlier -  by Peter, a fellow volunteer who captures the whole experience far better than I ever could.

Siloth on Solway - Milennium mosaic
From there we hurtled back down to Carlisle and out to sunny Siloth on Solway. What a discovery there, too! Simple, honest to goodness unspolt seaside with wonderful views from  the Solway back over to Scotland in one direction and towards the 'proper,' Lake District in the other. Somebody told me that you've not visited the true Lake District until you've been to Keswick.

Home Comforts: A little corner of Greenbelt 2013

Then on  - for me at least - to Greenbelt Festival where I was volunteering again  in one of the worship venues. I've said before my personal experience of the festival  seems to alternate between one good and one bad year. 2010, good, 2011, less than positive, 2012 much better. 2013? I'd say it was the year of change and challenge - for many of us, I'd guess, as we came to term with the challenges of a re-configured (because of the damage done to the racecourse during last year's floods) and much smaller site. Apart from the inevitable noise pollution which was unavoidable with several major music venues Big top and beer tent all located up one end of the festival village, and the loss of several much-loved venues to the downscaling, I rather liked it myself. It seemed much cosier and less intimidating to this dyed in the wool introvert, whilst as a hard-working volunteer I found that with the smaller distances between locations, I actually managed to get to more than one talk this time round. Sue Pickering's first talk on the Friday evening on the spirituality of ageing, Hopeweaver's creative morning prayer, Steve Chalke, Abbot Christopher Jamieson's breathtaking session on contemplative prayer - I was stewarding for this one, but it was so popular that we had the doors open. I'll never forget standing there watching what must have been over 300 people, deep in silent prayer, some I guess, for the first time ever,  whilst the hullaballoo of the festival was all around them. Plenty other memories too - many of them came with the volunteer experience. A classic being helping to steward a long, long queue of folk queuing for the Goth eucharist whilst a silent eucharist was being held just across the hallway. Surreal isn't in it!

That pesky 'inner parrot!'

Finally, last weekend, I'd a great time introducing some groups to the Sybil MacBeth colouring prayer methods as part of a series of interactive workshops over the county border. Pictured here is that pesky 'Inner Parrot,' (inner critic), who played a walk-on part being ceremoniously binned at the start of each session! I fancy he looks suitably  subdued now, don't you? 

So, on with the autumn with many changes forecast in my little corner. Fasten your seatbelts now...