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Doing good

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I’ve recently been reflecting on persistently, constantly and patiently doing good.  We’ve seen so much of people doing good over recent months.  Whether it’s the many people who have volunteered for Community Hubs picking up shopping or prescriptions, or businesses stepping in to provide children’s lunches over half term, or Joe Wicks (and others) offering their skills free of charge during lockdown to keep the nation fit and well in body, soul and spirit.   But, it’s hard to always keep doing good.  Whilst we maybe able to be good in one area of our lives, there are often other areas where we are less than good, maybe a lack of patience within our own families, frustration with the authorities, struggling to persistently choose to eat healthily and exercise, or just being plain sick and tired of the daily grind. Persisting in doing good requires a striving and a seeking from within to do so.  It takes effort and choice.  Constantly doing good requires us to stand firm, not being sway

What’s your Story? | War Baby part 3 - Go

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In this final part of my Mum’s reminisces from her childhood, she shares how she was evacuated with her Mum and brother and how they survived a near miss from a doodlebug. In this case it was drastic circumstances that led to their leaving their home, albeit temporarily.  There can be many different reasons for leaving the familiar and striking out into the unknown; war, work, adventure or maybe even a Godly command.  God told Abram ‘Go from your country, your people and your Father’s household.‘ (Genesis 12:1).  Abram didn’t know where he was going, but he did have God’s promise of blessing for him and his future.  Sometimes God calls us to ‘Go’.  We don’t always know where we will end up or who we will end up with but if we trust God, he will show us the way and bless our faith in his promises.   In about 1943, it was decided that although Kingston was relatively unscathed, it was prone to random bombs as the Luftwaffe were returning from their raids, so we were to be evacuated to so

What's your story? War Baby part 2 (Remembering the Forgotten Army)

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This is the second part of my Mum's story.  It shows how through another set of God-incidences, two men (Reg Lloyd, my Grandad and Beck Onishi, my Dad’s business associate) who would once have been mortal enemies could become men of mutual and honourable respect. Reg Lloyd (left) | Mum, Dad, me & my brother (right) Photos taken by Beck Onishi This is mainly my story of experiences during and after World War 2, so I will now go back to about 1942 and the entry of Britain into the war against Japan.  My father was in his 31st year, hardly a young recruit and certainly no hero.  Nevertheless he was called up and sent off to Chittagong, India, to be prepared for fighting in the swamps and jungles of Burma as part of the 14th Army.  As a baby at this time, I was obviously oblivious to all this and my earliest memory is of my father turning up at our Kingston home probably in about 1943/4.   He had previously been reported to my mother as missing in action but she was convinced he

What’s your story? - WAR BABY part 1 (Sent from Coventry)

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been reflecting on the stories we each carry.  Stories of people, places and events; such as VE Day, 400 years of the Pilgrims leaving Plymouth, VJ Day and significant birthdays for family members.  Stories form part of our identity and inheritance, so I’ve invited my Mum to guest blog by sharing a couple of her stories. Here is part one of her story - one that shows how people, places and events can become inexplicably interweaved.  We often dismiss these coincidences but sometimes they are more than coincidences, they are God-incidences.  We may not always know the significance of them, but I know that, despite the doubt concerning the authenticity of the windows, Mum was comforted by knowing that somehow God was connected to her life personally through these enigmatic signs.   Akureyri Church (left & main) | Coventry Cathedral & Mum (right) I was born on the 14th November 1940 in Oxford.  Although my mother, father and older brother were li

Downton Determination or Heavenly Hope

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Over the last few weeks I’ve been watching Downton Abbey.  I’d never seen it before and I’m thoroughly enjoying getting to know the characters and their comings and goings. This week the often acidic Dowager Countess showed one of her softer moments as she comforted her granddaughter, Edith.  Edith was lamenting that it was beginning to feel as if God didn’t want her to ever be happy.  The Countess responds with her age acquired wisdom that life is just a series of problems needing solutions.  Once a problem is solved, she says, very often another presents itself requiring a fresh solution and so on until you die.   Certainly if you’re a fan of Downton, you’ll be aware that there is no shortage of the need to creatively solve a variety of problems that both the family and their staff experience.  Accident of birth whether high, middle, or low ranking, is no protection from life’s problems. The Countess’s view may be one we identify with, whereby we use our determination to overcome lif

Now is the time

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Can you see it? Do you even know it's there? That tiny seed buried beneath the cold hard ground. The seed of hope. The seed of life, growth and fruit. The seed containing a glimpse of God's glory. All it needs is a little warmth, a little encouragement to break out of its shell. A little watering to soften up its hard casing. The casing that has protected it from harm. That has provided a tough exterior and kept it safe. But now the time has come. The time to break out and grow. The time to choose life or death, hope or despair. To push through and grow, or stay put and shrivel. Can you feel it? Can you feel the gentle warmth of heavenly breath? The compassionate tears of a heavenly Saviour? Longing for us to see. Longing for us to hear. Longing for us to know the embrace of God. Now is the time. The time to respond. To recognise the One who calls us. The One who knew us in the dark place before we were born. The One who has always been beside us. Watching as each layer of hard

Sing your song

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As I’ve been spending more time in my garden recently, I’ve been treated to an increasing variety of birdsong.  The pretty tweeting of the smaller birds; bluetits, robins, sparrows and finches.  The louder more noticeable wake up call of the blackbird or its slightly more annoying warning call when a cat is close by.  The cawing of the crows, the screeching of the seagulls and even the occasional lone honk of a goose.  Each bird has its own voice, its own message, it’s own song to sing. A new visitor to our garden is the Greater Spotted Woodpecker, which the Woodland Trust states is “not afraid to make itself heard”.  It is relatively quiet when it’s eating from our bird feeder but certainly when I walk through the woods, it’s distinctive sound of hammering as it’s beak hits wood is unmistakable. We, too, each have a unique voice.  Some of us find it easy to express ourselves, others find it harder.  It took me many years to find my voice and I often feel as if I’m still seeking as