Month: October 2013

Eh? What Was That You Said?

ImageA wise old owl lived in an oak

The more he saw the less he spoke;

The less he spoke the more he heard;

Why aren’t we like that wise old bird?

(Edward Hersey Richards)
Walked in on a quarrel the other day, heard some words which were best left unsaid and it turned out that the verbal strife was caused by one of the parties mishearing someone else. Well now, what a carry on! An outbreak of war of the ear splitting kind because some one had only half an ear for something said, passed it one and then got fired up and armed to the teeth with language of the invective kind! Invective? That’s a good word for a Wednesday evening, better than some of the words used on this occasion at least.
Are you a good listener, my apology to anyone who is deaf – just like to say that having watched deaf people sign, you are all pretty good at listening your way, and excellent when it comes to reading lips and body language and all those other things which I might not ‘see’ – some deaf people are better at ‘listening and hearing it right’ then some hearing folk might think.

Being a ‘good listener’ is not such a natural gift as we might think either, we can learn how to be a ‘good listener’ and with self discipline and patience we can all achieve a measure of proficiency in this area. I am sure we have all known times when we needed to get things off our chest, think things out aloud and have valued the discrete friend who just sat there, took it all and said nothing… hush … not to a soul, and never mentioned it again to us either, unless of course, we asked…

‘Oh, that I had someone to hear me,’ says Job (31:35) He had listeners alright. But getting their two bits in was more important than really listening to poor old Job and to blame easier than to have compassion.

James, bless him, might have learnt his wisdom the hard way too, most of us do, ‘everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry’ (James 1:19)

Me? well I am still learning, and taking to heart this saying from Proverbs (1:5)

…let the wise listen and add to their learning.’I would rather be known as a wise old owl than a fire-belching dragon.


The Fruit of Time Well Spent

I like pictures, and in this one, the basket reminds me of the punnets strawberries were packed in back in those years before everything came in plastic.

As a child a basket of fruit like this one would have caused tremendous excitement in our house. We were not well off as some may have been but, richer than many children today, our Mum was very ill when I was six, and she heard the doctors telling the nurses that she wouldn’t see the next morning, she prayed in her hospital bed that The Lord would let her live to see her children grown; a prayer which he heard, my Mum saw her 81st birthday and raised us well. She was never able to go out to work, as other Mums did, but was always there for us at home, we were rich because we were loved; rich because Mum and Dad stayed together and taught us to love and care for each other and our pets.

Bedtimes had their own little ritual. Us children would go upstairs, then Mum, Dad came up last of all. He would tap on each bedroom door and say “Goodnight, God Bless.” and there was always the same answering chorus, in unison,

“Goodnight, Dad, God Bless. Is the dog in his basket, is the cat in?”

My Dad of course would always say that yes Paddy was in his basket, and Maggie, the cat safely returned from her evening patrol, otherwise none of us would have slept.

As children we were never smacked a word was enough, and we never heard our parents swear.

The world has changed. There are so many stories now of children being abused, of parents abusing one another…. And often, so very often children don’t have married parents, some seem to have a new Dad every few months or so, and although they may have the latest devices and toys, I feel their short childhoods are so very much poorer than mine was.

(Oil on canvas by Rubens Peale. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston)

My Dad, didn’t attend Church, but did you notice the “Goodnight, God Bless”?

I think that is another way in which today’s children are poorer.

The chain has got broken, many Mum and Dads no longer have faith, and schools no longer teach the way they did. When our church was without a vicar for 4 years, the other churchwarden and I made sure the primary school children from the school down the hill were always welcome, the two of us showed them around, answered questions, made sure the Christmas Tree was decorated and lit for their Carol Services; now we have a vicar and the number of school requests for visits and services has grown quite beyond our expectations. The fruit I feel of time, well spent,
If only one day when a little boy has grown up his last words every night are

“Goodnight, God Bless.”

Dedicated to; Whisperingleavesblog

A beautiful, wonderful gift from a beautiful soul .. May the Risen Jesus be at your side, today, Terry.

Who I am

Silence is Golden

There is a time

I yearn for

When most are quiet

The children sleep

The jails are full

God’s creatures are resting

The streets are silent

The air is still

But up on the hill

There is light

A golden glow

Whispering voices

Faces with smiles

A gathering of all

Who come in wonder

For this is the morn

The day of awe

When my Jesus was raised

On Easter morning.

Written by,

Terry Shepherd




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The Quiet Hour

When were you last still and quiet, or totally absorbed in a book?

Quietness for me when in home is no problem. I live alone and can choose to be quiet, put on music, switch on TV or radio, as I please. Being still is another matter. Because a great deal of my time is spent outside home with church chores or admin, time in home is likely to be filled with cleaning, laundry and other stuff, that we all know really ‘needs’ to be done. Busy bee that I am, I rather fancy myself to have grown adept to listening out for God as I work. To be honest, though, I feel that is cheating and although it is possible to pray whilst doing the ironing, (in my own case), this is not so easy as it sounds, prayer and ironing can lead to scorch marks!


I like the painting, called The Quiet Hour by Dod Proctor, painted in oil on canvas in 1935 (76 x 63.5 cm) it’s in the New Art Gallery, Walsall, U.K.

This is this lady’s down-time, her Quiet Hour; and she is taking it: everything else put on hold for just one hour.

Now, if anyone had ever suggested to Michelangelo, Raphael, Gwen John, that it was possible to produce their wonderful art whilst doing the ironing, what would they have replied?

Generally speaking, us girls are proud to be credited with our multi-tasking skills, but !!!

We are included in this invitation (Matthew11: 28-30)
Come to me, all you who are wearied and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden light”

A restful hour with Jesus so much better than ironing!

I pray that all who might read this whose days are just so full of waiting on others, nursing babies or those who are ill that He who gave us this invitation and promise will give you that rest, that little time for yourself that you deserve, He loves you for your love and busy care for others, and waits to give you rest, next time you are ironing just look up and smile … Jesus does smile back, I know, been there, ruined the “T” shirt.

It’s Only Words

There was a song, in my teen years that had a line that went something like; It’s only words and words are all I have …

You think that I don’t even mean
A single word I say
It’s only words and words are all I have
To take your heart away

Well if there were no words, this world would be a sad place, as well as a silent, lonely one; words are like the individual links of a gold necklace, interlaced with their neighbours they become a beautiful chain, a chain perhaps to keep safe a treasured locket or pendant; or, words can be links in an anchor chain, giant links in the cable that keeps an ocean going liner secure.

Words make chains that bind hearts, soothe and heal broken ones, words, comfort, sustain, stengthen, give peace…

Words can also be malicious and poison love and relationships.

Words can be links in chains forged to imprison and oppress others…

Words can kill.

Words can give life.

If words are Pearls, then they need to be found, sorted, graded, threaded or set in place by skilled artisans, words need wisdom, integrity, purity of heart before they can become ornaments that become the Lamb’s bride. (Revelation 21: 21)

Remember David, the shepherd boy, well he took 5 stones from the brook and put them in his pouch, but he needed only 1 and 1 shot to slay Goliath … we don’t need many words, just the right one and the discipline of prayer to be effective for God.

Christians don’t need to be ‘wordy’ people to prove they are children of God, what we need is to be children of the WORD and to listen to Him before we fire off 500 sling shots and find every one missed the target or worse still we got the wrong man or woman!

All comments welcome!


Seeing The Light

Early morning and not yet enough Autumn light to chase the shadows from the wall.

Attention caught by the flickering tiles of light playing on the wall, I knew that the sun was rising higher above the tree line behind me, soon the light would win, the shadow be vanquished., perhaps later on the wind would drop, the frenzied movement of trees would be stilled, the fascinating display of light and movement now showing for free on the wall would never be re shown in exactly the same way again, this was a one off!

Tucked away, there are two telescopes in my home, a reflector and a refractor, I can still, probably draw up a planetary orbit on paper if the mood takes me, watching the dancing light, thinking that it is n’t the movement of the sun that makes sunrise or sunset, but the movement of the earth, turning on its axis, this little verse from the first letter of St. John came readily to mind.

God is light: in him there is no darkness at all” (1 John 1:5)

There is no movement with God, no shadow of turning, no variance, God is God and faithful.

The same can’t be said of us.

Like the trees, and whirling leaves, we can be swept up, blown and tossed on the winds of change, of chance and hot and cold air from all kinds of sources, not all winds and words come from the Holy Spirit and the wisdom of God.

It is the hardest thing for us to be still, still enough for the Light that is God to be reflected perfectly in any one of us, we are much more likely to be the tossed around tree branch that makes the dark shadows dance than a mirror of His glory.

The wondrous thing is He remains faithful, and in the darkest of our nights goes on shining, forgiving and drawing us Into fellowship with each other and with a His Son Jesus, who is “the Radiance of God’s a glory and the exact representation of His being” (Hebrews 1:3)

May God’s Sun shine on us all today, and may He make His face to shine on us!


Sometimes there are no words.

Sometimes there are no words, sometimes words are too many and sometimes too few.

Sometimes we are overwhelmed by a beautiful gesture, a kindly word or good deed done for us at great personal cost and sacrifice to the giver; at other times the sunrise, sunset, light on water, autumnal colours, enthralling music just take our powers of speech.

Should we be surprised then that the same holds good for our prayers, sometimes our meeting with God just stuns us into silence.

When he opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour’ (Rev. 8 v1)

Happy John, that he should have been given such a witness!

Happy those who know, the love of God, beyond all our telling and words, silently given as the Rose gives its fragrance!