Beautiful new #EnidBlyton books from @hodderfaith

If you are looking for a nostalgic present for an adult or a nice gift for a tween, take a look at these lovely Enid Blyton books:

I’m going to use them as prizes in my younger youth group and in church… There is nothing like a free book to bring joy. In the meantime if you want to buy them on Amazon:

Noah and other Old Testament stories
The first Christmas and other New Testament stories 
The land of far beyond

Book Review: Hidden Christmas by Timothy Keller, published by @HodderFaith 

This book is full of surprises. I found Hidden Christmas both interesting, difficult, insightful and challenging.

It wasn’t at all what I was expecting, but then that’s probabaly because there is a part of me thinking about nativity scenes and tinsel. Both of which are great by the way, but this book goes straight into the deep truths of what Christianity is about.

It especially reminds us of the lengths God has gone to in order to reclaim us, to bring us home into the place of his love.

To begin with I was uncertain who the book was aimed at, Christians or people wanting to consider Christianity and I am still not sure. However I don’t think I would give it to my non Christian friends.

I personally found Keller’s speaking  style abrupt and at times aggressive in tone. I struggled with it and I know it would put my non Christian friends off.  Also he uses language which while completely accessible to a church goer, would confuse many who have no experience of it.

 There were times where he assumes who you the reader are and what motivates you, which I found annoying. But then he said this:

I have often heard people say that they had gone to such and such church and the preacher had droned on to long and was boring. I often counter, “Okay, but was the sermon wrong? Even though it was boringly communicated, was God’s truth being set before you?” We must be aware of our prejudices.

And he is right. Keller is in no way boring in this book but I did find myself prejudice against it because of his tone.

However, as I looked past that I found Hidden Christmas full of some very beautiful truths and profound insights.

There is much to be gained from reading this book as a Christian, both as an encouragement and as a challege to a deeper life with God. 

So take a look for yourselves – I would love to hear your opinions on it.

Something new, something old and preferably nothing blue.

So apparently the meaning of my life starts today, as I turn 42 😊

And I am planning to take hold of this coming year with both hands.

I saw a @tearfundlife  article recently on how our lives can be a place:

where the outsider is brought close, the excluded are ushered in and the down-trodden are given refuge.


This matters a great deal to me and I want my life to be:

  a roaring fireplace of safety and warmth, rather than a mat that tells you to wipe the dirt from your feet before entering.

So figuring out what that looks like this year is my top priority.

I have other priorities, never stop learning, keep on being creative, find wonder wherever I can and stay well.

So my something new is going to be joining a flower arranging club in January.

My something old will be continuing the diploma I have been doing… well forever really. And the future learn courses I have on the go, and maybe one or two more.
Finally I intend to keep in top of my health, so no blue for me hopefully,  just the gym, proper sleep, lots of prayer and healthy food.

I wonder, what would your old, new and not blue things be?

A fresh start or, the #meaningoflife is #42

It has been a truly horrible autumn. R and I have unexpectedly and at great speed lost an immediate member of R’s family. Separately I have had to face the fact that instead of fully living the life i have, I’ve been desperately clinging to the hope that I might still have a child.
The grief of both these things has floored us. But in spite of all the darkness, Christ’s goodness has shone though. Our church has been deeply compassionate towards us, demonstrating what it really means to be God’s people, in their love for us.

I have handled a lot of all our circumstances really badly and I am grateful for a forgiving husband and a forgiving God. But now it’s time to start again, to set out  on the road once more. We will both journey with grief a good while longer, but I know that the Father has our back.

The broken pieces of our lives will be mended with the gold of Christ’s compassion and we will be called beautiful because of it.

I turn 42 on Thursday and as anyone aquainted with the hitch hikers guide to the galaxy will know, 42 is the answer to  the meaning of life…
I intend to make 42 a year of entering into  the life I have and celebrating all that God has given R and I by living in the hope that Christ has set before me. 

That, in him I can be a force for good. That through him, I can create joy, love and worship for his glory.

May the meaning of 42 be as my dad taught me years ago:

Ours the task

Others the benefit

To God the glory.

Latest story for my #futurelearn course

The next story for my futurelearn course:

Katie had just locked her car when the fox surprised her. As it flashed past her she caught her breath, watching him leap over fences as he ran through the front gardens of the houses in her street.

He then dissapeared up an alleyway half way down the road. Breathing again, she felt a flush of joy having seen the animal.

Moving to the city had been so much harder than she expected. Her job was great, how could she fault being artist in residence at the largest library and community centre for miles around.

But the concrete jungle was getting her down. It had only been six months since she had moved from the wide open spaces of the East. 

There she could stand in the noisey silence of the early morning, the dome of the sky above her and the resident sparrows in nearby trees would swing from branches and chatter to one another. 

Now all she had was a little slice if sky from her dorma window and the constant rumble of humanity en mass.

Later in the day she met Lucy for coffee and recounted her meeting with the fox. Lucy paused, pushing back her 1980’s peroxide fringe and sitting back in her chair. She studied Katie for a moment, taking in her classic talored trousers and crew neck top. She noticed that in spite of an expensive bob hair cut and perfect natural makeup, she looked soul-tired.

“You know, there is more nature in the city than you might imagine. I think it’s time you but your artist sensibilities to it”.

Katie put her coffee down “what do you mean?”

“Well, if I were a photography student and I only took photos of what you have described the city to be, what would you say to me?”

“I’d tell you to change your perspective, to look big, look small, look sideways…”

“Well then my friend, time to go do that”.

So she did. Suddenly a new world opened up to Katie. From tiny flowers pushing the vaement aside, ferns and lichen reclaiming walls, silly pigeons making eyes at one another on rooftops and clouds of starlings in the evening, there was more life in the city than she could have imagined.

And of course, there was the fox in her street – home had come to her.