History Does Not Repeat Itself, But It Does Tend To Rhyme. ~ Mark Twain

Let there always be love and peace, gentleness and consideration shared amongst us all🌷

A Mixed Bag

I want to thank Katrina Perkins (actress and one of the quizzers on Million Second Quiz) for finding the first of these inspirational quotes for me today. I appreciate that, thank you Katrina.

When things happen to us again and again, we say that we are doomed to that, but are we? Or do we just let it happen because it is what we are used to? We can change that by not allowing it to happen. It is not an easy task, but sometimes, happiness takes hard work  so we can sit down and say “I did that!” That, I believe, is one of the most rewarding things we can do. When we create something and it gives us a smile, that gives us happiness. Sometimes even in a relationship, it is not automatically happiness for ever after. The fairy tales don’t tell of the bills that come…

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A Pebble and a Rock to Keep

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The bears sitting on my sofa, in the empty arm chair, arrived over time. As my Mum grew older my niece and nephew gave her a new one every birthday, she particularly liked the one that sings ‘The Teddy Bears’ Picnic’ – although I have given many away – I keep just a few; after all they don’t make much noise and very little mess. My abiding memory of Mum is that she was a very strong person, steady, plucky, determined, resourceful. To my knowledge she never let anyone down, and would stand up to the devil himself to protect her family. When her grandchildren came along, she loved them just the same way. My Mum, I am proud to declare was a ‘Rock’

Yesterday’s Gospel Reading, came from the first chapter of St John’s a Gospel, and we heard about Andrew bringing his brother Simon to meet Jesus. The rest as they say ‘is history’ Jesus looked at Peter and said, “You are Simon son of John. You will be called Cephas (which when translated is Peter). Cephas is Aramaic, Peter is Greek both mean rock

I think, as I get older, I do get more like my dear Mum, and I would like to think that one day, someone’s abiding memory of me would be that I was a rock.

Of all the thousands of pebbles on a very pebbly beach, Jesus picks up one, turns it over, examines it carefully, holding it he feels its weight, and let’s his fingers explore its smoothness and hardness.
There is something about this pebble. The Lord decides, he will keep it and puts it in his pocket.

Down through the years he keeps it. His fingers polish it and the pebble becomes what The Lord knew it was all along – a gemstone – fit to adorn his palace.

How big a blessing would that be, a little gemstone set in the pavement those beautiful feet pass over…

In a way, we are all called to be rocks, living stones, what we often forget is the fashioning into a stone fit for his palace takes time, there is Grace that saves and there is Grace that transforms, there is hope for us all, after all Peter it was who denied 3 times that he knew Jesus and 3 times The Rock called Christ Jesus forgave him.

I read somewhere, that someone could not understand the emphasis that some Christians put on the person of Jesus when they blog, well for me the scripture says it nicely, in coming into this world Jesus became just as we are (without the sin) that we might become just as he is, it is always precious to me when people say, ‘You’re like your Mum, I can see your Mum in you.’ On occasion I have heard someone say, ‘I can see Jesus in you,’ However, I don’t think so, not yet; but I hope. I hope and I put my faith in him, I love him, because he first loved me, and I believe that love will finish the work begun when first The Lord first noticed this pebble on the beach.

May all your days be lovely, and all your friends ‘rocks’ and ‘keepers’

…All the way, until you reached this place

I am tired.

January tends to be a month that tires me out, 31st December is year end for Church accounting purposes, and evenings tend to be as busy as the days. I don’t think the grey mornings help much either, but I notice Snowdrops are pushing through, Hyacinths are there beneath the window and the tips of Bluebells are visible… Still looking for that first snowflake …. But the weather lady isn’t promising any for this week.

As a teenager I worked in the Office of a Veterinary Chemist. We made medicines, lotions and potions and animal feeds. The smell of the Cough Mixture we made for horses was wonderful. On one never to be forgotten occasion, we, the ever curious, office girls were allowed to leave Underwood typewriters aside and cook up a batch. Yes, I meant cook, because that is literally what we did, using the secret recipe, (at least one of the ingredients is a controlled substance today-keeping pace with changing Statutory Regulations proved too difficult for that small company in the end and pushed it out of business, however by the time that happened, I had been with a large Electrical Company for 20 years or so). That Cough Mixture was highly rated by Race Horse Trainers, as were our ‘famous’ liniments and embrocations. On many an occasion an elderly enquirer would ring the reception bell and ask if they could buy a single bottle of the embrocation for their winter aches and pains. What was good for horses was good enough for them!
Besides catering for Horses we supplied farmers all over the U.K. with feeds and medicines for cattle, poultry and sheep.

January meant we would hear hardship stories from Scottish Farmers, in the 10 years I was with that Company I cannot remember a year when we were not told that Scotland was experiencing the “worst winter in living memory” – Global warming suddenly comes right into perspective when looking back on those years. Especially our girlish hearts would be tugged at the thought of those little lambs out in the cold, despite farmers frantic efforts to locate them .. Some were always lost.
Small, weak, helpless; who could not pity them?

Over the past couple of days, a fragment, just a fragment of scripture from the first chapter of Deuteronomy has stayed with me, they were spoken as Israel prepared to enter the Promised
Land and remind them how it has been for them in the howling wilderness:

There you saw how the LORD your God carried you as a father carries his son, all the way you went until you reached this place.”

These are words I think that tell us of a Shepherd’s care … Whether through scorching desert, or icy snow drifts, he will carry his sheep all the way … At least that has been my experience as sheep 100 , the one for whom the shepherd searched.

Loving Shepherd of thy sheep,
Keep thy lamb in safety keep;
Nothing can thy power withstand,
None can pluck me from thy hand.
(Jane E. Leeson)

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The Rock From Bethlehem

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I took this photo some time ago on a happy, pleasant visit with other ladies from church to Coventry Cathedral. We went to be inspired by some brilliant Floral Creations commemorating the Cathedrals 50th Anniversary. The present building stands alongside the ruins of the old one which was destroyed in the bombing raids of WW2. So horrendous were these raids, that the Fuehrer gave the world a new word ‘Coventrated’

The Rock in the picture is just that; it’s a huge boulder from Bethlehem, the top is slightly hollowed and this is the Cathedral’s font where babies, sometimes adults are washed in the waters of baptism.

That had always seemed very appropriate to me, I guess many a visitor has stood awhile and let these words from Toplady’s ‘Rock of Ages’ speak to them:

Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy riven side which flow’d,
Be of sin the double cure,
Save me from its guilt and pow’r’

Today, in church, we celebrated the Feast of the Epiphany, recalling the visit of those Wise Men, with their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh, already our gaze is being pulled towards Calvary and the Cross, in church the crib is still in place and draws our eyes towards the baby, we like to take him from the manger bed, and let Mary hold him in her arms; and that is poignant too, bitter sweet, such a great sorrow for any parent to hold in their arms a child lost before it’s time, as Mary held Jesus when He had grown to man.

We haven’t seen snow yet, just rain, rain-black streets are not so pretty as snow- scapes, and the wind did plenty of damage over the New Year, trees crashed in gardens and elderly fences blew over, but you know what? On the Top of the Hill, the windiest place for miles around, the church roof stayed on! There is something to be said for building well, and for building on a solid foundation. Soon the stable will be gone, barley straw gathered up to be recycled, crib figures bubble wrapped and packed away, until next year when that part of the story will be told again. There is not much to read in the bible about Mary’s son growing up what games did He play with His friends, brothers and sisters? What did teenagers Jesus do? The scriptures don’t record for us those precious family memories that we would keep nowadays documented, and photographed in keepsake albums, but it is safe to assume that Mary and Joseph always endeavoured to see that their children were bought up well, that they had good foundations.

I think, I am trying to say, that we all need that, we need the Rock from Bethlehem, we need to bear in mind, also who this baby is, He is the Word who was with God and was God in the beginning, before all things were made. As Mary’s son, He needed cradling. feeding, washing, protection, guidance all the things which we need, that is the mystery isn’t it, He emptied Himself, hollowed Himself out, like the stone in Coventry Cathedral; making a space big enough to hide us all: long before He filled. the manger bed and Mary’s arms, Isaiah wrote:

Trust in the LORD for ever,
For the LORD, Himself,
Is the Rock eternal.”

(Isaiah 26:4)