God in ....

For this Sunday I simply offer this prayer. 

From the Celtic tradition, it's a prayer which for many many centuries has been spoken - out loud and in the silence of a prayerful moment -  bringing comfort, challenge and inspiration. 

If you have  a moment or two today to think of the Divine and the Almighty ... may I humbly suggest that this might be a good place to start?

Have a blessed day!

God in


I Pledge to ....

This Saturday maybe it's time to kick back a bit and try to rest and relax.

But when it comes to our human interactions, I believe there's no 'rest' or 'relaxation' from trying to be a person who helps others, encourages, supports and makes the world a better place.

There's no time to 'rest' from being kind.  But sometimes it doesn't come naturally and we may need to work at it.

So here's a reminder of some of things that can help to make a difference in our world.

If you fancy it, while you're having some 'downtime' this weekend, maybe give this a few moments of your time. You don't have to sign a pledge or anything like that ... but thinking about it is a start.

Be encouraged.

Have a great day!

The_Be_Kind_People_Project2

 


Order! Order!

I've been doing this daily blog now since January 1st ... 2021 ...

I know, it might seem longer to some of you, it does sometimes feel like an age to me!

And as the months have progressed, I've turned to my computer oftentimes to gain inspiration for my daily 'thought'.

Historic dates - like yesterday's reflection on the Battle of Hastings in 1066 - and marking days when people have been born, or died, or done amazing things. There are some great websites which are packed full of information. I've learned loads actually!

And then, sometimes, I come across just weird quirky stuff that purportedly happened 'On this day' in history.

Take today, for instance. October 15th.

I turn to one of my favourite websites which I've often plundered for inspiration - On This Day -and I find this ....

Apparently, on October 15th 1520 King Henry VIII of England 'ordered bowling lanes at Whitehall'.

I was hooked. What was all this about?

When we think on Henry the Eighth I guess we automatically think of his six wives ... Catherine of Aragon (Divorced) Anne Boleyn (Beheaded) Jane Seymour (Died) Anne of Cleves (Divorced) Catherine Howard (Beheaded) and the lucky Catherine Parr (Survived). 

And, if like me you adore historical films ... you'll think of Henry mostly as a big fat man who could hardly walk or ride a horse, let alone play bowls, so what's all this about?

Bowling alleyI dug a bit deeper and on a fantastic site called TWISTED-HISTORY.com I discovered that indeed, on this day in 1520, King Henry VIII signed the orders to have bowling lanes installed at his Royal residence - the Palace of Whitehall - in London.

This was before he grew into that old, fat guy so desperate to have a male heir that he would do anything, including killing his wives. In 1520. Henry was still a young man, tall, very attractive to women (and he knew it) and athletic. He was a fit guy and having an indoor bowling lane at his home was a status symbol ... maybe like a super duper indoor gym today, with a swimming pool, outdoor tennis court and a personal cinema all rolled into one.  And he was KING!

So he 'ordered' the bowling lanes to be installed at the palace at Whitehall.  Actually, as King of England, he could 'order' anything he wanted. A new wife, a divorce, a new horse, new clothes, a new adviser ... the only thing he couldn't 'order' was a male heir! How ironic!

But this 'ordering' thing is intriguing and it's got me thinking ... what would I 'order' if I could had that sort of power? 

Material things?  A new house ... a cottage or flat by the sea would be ideal for me. Enough money so I don't have to wake up at night worrying about paying the bills or the future. As an author, I'd love to 'order' a best selling book/novel or ten ... that would be amazing. Although probably exhausting!

But actually I think if I could 'order' anything in my life I'd love to live in a world which is loving and kind, not competitive to the point of anguish, and a world where people just get on, less confrontational, no arguments, war and conflict. Some might say that's unrealistic because humans aren't like that... so maybe I'd like to 'order' people to work harder at love and kindness, to make themselves vulnerable to change.  Just to be better at doing this life thing!

I'd like to live in a world where we all try, at least, to get on with each other. Where no one feels they are superior to others. Where we are all treated equally, not judged for our possessions, looks, colour, sexuality, style, status, jobs, the place we live ... you know what I'm talking about. 

And yes, I'd like to 'order' a world where resources are more equally shared, so that those of us who have more are willing to give some of that up for those who have little. I live in an island which is beautiful, but unfortunately even here we have a great divide between the 'haves' and the 'have nots'. I would like to 'order' a Jersey where it's not impossible for people to buy a house because costs are so high. I would like to order a world where some people don't have to work three jobs just to pay extortionate rents and to put food on the table for their family. 

 For that to happen I might have to order some radical social changes and that might not sit well with some people.

But hey ... I'm doing the ordering! 

And would I want a bowling alley in my house? 

No ... but (tongue in cheek)...  a swimming pool would be fantastic!!!!

 


Notre Reine, le Duc

October 14th - 1066!

It's a day which changed history.

Because it was on this day that the Norman-French army under William, the Duke of Normandy, took on an English army under the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, at the Battle of Hastings.

Actually my little bit of research tells me that the 'battle' took place about 7 miles  (11 km) northwest of Hastings, close to the present-day town of Battle, in East Sussex, on the south coast of England.

I've read quite a lot about this part of history - I'm a bit intrigued by the Anglo-Saxon era - but I won't go into the details here about why a Norman duke (from the present day France) thought he had a right to the English throne and ended up claiming that right, changing England and the British Isles forever.

Suffice to say it was all a bit of a fiasco for the English ...  they were fighting among themselves, got into all sorts of confusion, ended up traipsing all over the countryside and ultimately, it was a decisive Norman victory.

We don't know how many people/men were actually part of that bloody battle but we do know that the English army was composed almost entirely of infantry topped up with a few archers. The Norman army was only about half infantry, and the rest of their fighting men were cavalry (on horses) and archers.

The battle lasted from about 9 am to dusk on that day and initially the English seemed to have the upper hand. The Normans, unable to break through their opponent's battle lines, pretended to flee in terror. The English chased after them and that's when the Normans turned on them Eventually, Harold was killed -  probably near the end of the battle  - and the English retreated. Although historians can't be sure of casualty figures. some reckon that 2,000 invaders died on that day... but the number of Englishmen who perished on that day was double that. 

The Normans had won the battle but they continued to face pockets of opposition as they marched north towards London. However, eventually, the Anglo-Saxons admitted defeat and The 'Duke of Normandy' ... William ...was crowned as king - King William 1 of England - on Christmas Day 1066.

Bayeux tapestryWithin a few years of the battle, the events leading up to Hastings and culminating in the conflict on this day back in 1066 was captured in embroidery ... I've never seen the Bayeux Tapestry but I really want to.

It tells the story from the point of view of the conquering Normans but experts now agree that it was made in England. It lives in the town of Bayeux - where else - in Normandy in northwest France.

The early part of 'William the Conqueror's' rule included the submission of the English nobles and ruling class, but despite this and social engineering to impose the Norman culture on the Anglo Saxons, resistance continued for several years. These were all dealt with by the new ruling class and monarch and so, despite the opposition, Hastings effectively marked the culmination of William's conquest of England. And the Normans - government, architecture, even spiritual life - would determine the future history of England and the British Isles.

However, here in Jersey, we already had experience of what the English would go through post 1066 because the Norman influence had been present for at least 100 years and more before the Battle of Hastings.

Jersey is just about 12 miles across the water from the French coast and Norman 'pirates' began invading from about the year 873, although they were around long before that apparently. Jersey was part of a region called 'Neustria' –  part of the Kingdom of the Franks in West-France. Jersey and the rest of the Channel Islands was originally part of the Kingdom of France, and not linked to the British Crown as it is today.

The Channel Islands actually remained politically linked to Brittany until the year 933, when William LongswordDuke of Normandy seized the Cotentin - the French peninsula which on a good day is visible from Jersey's east coast - along with the islands and added them to his domain. Jersey, along with the rest of Normandy, was not part of the French Crown,  which had only limited rights in the region.  It was at that time that any form of government and way of life in Jersey which pre-dated the Normans was replaced upon the Norman invasion, a good century before the Battle of Hastings.

During Norman rule, Jersey developed, including as an agricultural economy and links with 'France' were strong. There was a large Norman migration to the island and in fact, my own family - the Le Feuvre family - probably came over to Jersey at that time. My own family tree dates back to around 1560 but like many Jersey families, our name and heritage goes back much further. Today the Norman cultural influence is still evident in the island. Norman law is still the basis of Jersey law (although it now has large influence from English common law) and our local language - Jèrriais - is a form of the Norman language - Norman French !

Oh and one final thing which you may not know... Jersey is a Crown Dependency. We are a self-governing possession of The Crown, part of the British Isles but NOT part of the United Kingdom. We have our own government, our own laws, finance and currency (the Jersey pound is not legal tender in the UK) ... we are an independent county. But our Head of State is the English monarch..

And the Queen is STILL referred to here as the 'Duke of Normandy' - the loyal toast at formal dinners is to our Monarch ... Notre reine, le Duc. ... which refers back to the period before 1204 when the island was part of the Duchy of Normandy.

With the conquest of England by the Duke of Normandy William II, otherwise known as William the Conqueror -  King William I of England -  the Channel Islands remained part of the Duchy until 1204 when King John lost the majority of his French territories and the Channel Islands became possessions of the English Crown.


Every New Day

Every New DayWe're halfway through the week!

It's Wednesday!

Do you like how your week is going?

Do you like how your life is going?

I know ... it's a BIG question ... and maybe not one you want to address right now.  But, if you're like me, sometimes you know when it's time to turn things around, maybe close one door so that you might open a window into another life, new opportunities. 

I've learned down the years that if we want to change our circumstances, if we want to turn our lives around, then maybe TODAY is the day we need to start the journey.

Today you might not decide to leave your job - like I did back in March. You might not make a decision right now to think differently, be different,  start down a different track. Or maybe today IS the the moment for those brave steps. 

Or perhaps today might be just the day when you start the thinking process. Maybe this is a time to begin to evaluate what it is you want out of life, and to determine if the path you're on will take you there.

If you're like me, you may not know EXACTLY what it is you really want, but you know that the road you're travelling right now isn't helping.  You may have dreams yet unfulfilled. You may be in a situation where you feel that you are unable, for whatever reason, to follow those dreams. 

Of course, the question is ... will taking yourself out of your situation make you happier? Will you cope in a different environment? We need to think about the consequences and think through the changes we might make. But sometimes taking the risk is worth it.

As I said ... BIG questions!

But as this thought reminds us ...'Every New Day is another chance to change your life'... 

Some might call it folly to change.

Others - and I count myself in this group - might call it bravery.

So today, if you need to be encouraged - BE BRAVE! 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Always be ...

Just a quick thought for this Tuesday!

Apart from anything else, this picture features Winnie the Pooh ... one of my favourites. .. a poet and a leader and just full of fun. And his friend Tigger, full of energy and optimism ... What a pair!

May we always be like Pooh and Tigger and have good friends around us.

And may we always be all of these things!

Happy Tuesday everyone!

 

Tuesday Acrostic


A Time for Everything

We've had a lovely weekend in Jersey, with lots of sunshine and the temperatures still warm. It's been glorious!

But last night, for the first time, it felt like there was a nip in the air ... and what with the leaves beginning to turn, it really feels like summer is turning to autumn.

I'm reminded at times like this that each season of the year brings with it challenges and joys. Autumn, or Fall, brings harvest and a reminder of what the world has to offer, so long as we take care of it. 

Autumn is also a time of preparation for winter, when we maybe hunker down a bit ... well I do anyway. A time to maybe not rush around quite so much as I have in the summer. A time to appreciate home.

Every season of the year, every time of our lives, brings with it responsibilities,  demands on our time, periods of rest and recuperation, work and life, family and fun. As we grow older, I am finding, life takes on new perspectives. The dreams I had as a young person are now no longer so 'essential'. The sky won't fall in if I don't get all I want! I no longer worry much about what people think of me. I find myself becoming aware of the need to use the time left to me wisely, rather than worrying about things I cannot change. 

Time is a precious thing. Every day I learn a little more about that. And although I still yearn for a bit of 'adventure' in life, these days good health and good friends, love and security are the things I find myself cherishing  ...

Oh ... and a good night's sleep! 

In the Bible, in the Old Testament, in the book of Ecclesiastes, there are some words which talk about there being 'A Time for Everything' ... it pertains not just to people but also to nations and nature. It reminds us to use time wisely. As I said before, to cherish the moments we have been given. 

The words are encouraging, and challenging, and worth reflecting on. And at the beginning of a new week, it's worth thinking about.

I love the poetry of passages like this ... glorious!

Not sure what 'season' this is for you ... but as you read this maybe you'd like to think about your dreams and wishes and wants, priorities and the passage of time.

Be blessed!

There is a seasonA Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.

(Ecclesiastes Ch 3: verses 1-8)

 


The Candle of the Lord

This past few weeks I've been thinking quite a lot about light and candles. 

Although we're in the early weeks of October, I'm already commissioned to work on a few Advent and Christmas projects so I've been thinking about themes.

The idea of Jesus Christ being the Light of the World and being born to be one of us is an overriding Christmas theme and of course, candles are often synonymous with the festive season. 

It's a time when we may think a bit more than usual about the Light coming into our world but also, it's a time when I think about my responsibilities to be a person who brings light to others. A person who doesn't sow discontent and negativity, but peace and positive vibes.

For inspiration today I turn to a song written by an amazing Christian leader, singer and songwriter ... Joy Webb .... She is a Salvation Army officer (minister) who in the 1960's led a Christian pop group called 'The Joystrings' - they made it into the UK pop charts! 

Major Joy has devoted her life to God  and since those heady Joystrings days, she has blessed us with many incredible songs which are loved and appreciated, and not just in The Salvation Army.

What I love about Joy's music and songs, writing and words,  is that she really goes to the heart of what it means to be a person of faith.  Her songs, in particular,  are always 'real'. sometimes poignant, many times challenging.  Down the years, her God-inspired words and music have inspired me many times.

There's a song which Joy wrote years ago and which is still one of my favourites ... it sums up that whole idea of US following the example of Jesus and being a light in our world.

The Candle of the LordIt's called 'The Candle of the Lord' and the words are incredible ...

Please click on the link below to read the words and immerse yourself in the music.

There's are many versions online, including vocal renditions, but today I've chosen an interpretation by a friend of mine, another incredible musician called Gaz Rose ... and his imaging of the song in music and pictures/video.

Thanks Gaz!

Thanks Major Joy!

And to you all ... have a great day!

And be blessed!

 

 


Imagine

IMAGINE!

You just need to say the word and immediately a particular song starts resonating in my head and heart.

It's a classic 'pop' song, that is much more than a 'pop song', by one of the legends of pop and rock music - the inimitable John Lennon ... he of the legendary pop group The Beatles ... singer, songwriter, musician, peace activist ... what a guy!

I'm thinking about John today specifically because it was on this day (October 9th) in 1940 that John Winston Lennon ... later John Winston Ono Lennon ... came into the world. 

Today I could have chosen SO many songs to celebrate John Lennon - and those of you who know me might have thought I might choose one like Strawberry Fields Forever which is directly linked to a Salvation Army children's home in Liverpool of that name in the grounds of which Lennon played as a child. Today it is an amazing centre run by The Salvation Army which works with the community and people with special needs, and pays tribute to the Lennon legacy.

But no ...  instead I've chosen another of John's iconic songs, composed and recorded and released after his time with The Beatles had come to an end.

IMAGINE!

Rolling Stone magazine described Imagine as Lennon's "greatest musical gift to the world" ... for many many reasons musically ... I won't go on about that now, but if you're interested, please feel free to investigate by clicking on the link embedded in the name of the song above.

Actually the eponymous album on which the song appeared was released in the USA in October 1971,  a month after the international release in the UK.... and the single was the best-selling one of John's solo career.

ImagineIt's a song which resounds with people around the world. 

Some believe this song is 'anti-faith' but I don't think it is. It actually encourages us to imagine a world of peace, without borders separating nations and peoples and without materialism which divides. Yes, it says 'no religion' but note it doesn't say 'no faith', and the two are very different.

John Lennon is credited with writing the song but just before his death in December 1980 he said that much of the song's content and the lyrics came from his wife, Yoko Ono. 

In an interview, actually for Playboy magazine, Lennon said that he and Yoko had been given a Christian prayer book which inspired the concept behind Imagine

He said this:

The concept of positive prayer ... If you can imagine a world at peace, with no denominations of religion – not without religion but without this my God-is-bigger-than-your-God thing – then it can be true ... the World Church called me once and asked, "Can we use the lyrics to 'Imagine' and just change it to 'Imagine one religion'?" That showed [me] they didn't understand it at all. It would defeat the whole purpose of the song, the whole idea. 

Some might think this sounds rather 'pie in the sky', but I love John Lennon's sentiment and he and Yoko's idea that we can dream of the world living as one ... one day!

So, to celebrate John Lennon and this brilliant song, here's the official video for Imagine, which is also iconic.

I love that the first 45seconds actually has no music ... but just the sound effects of John and Yoko walking. I love it's rather surreal concept ... rather like the song actually.

It's actually the first few minutes of a longer 81-minute feature-length film or 'documentary rock video' that was made to coincide with the launch of the Imagine album.

From the shots of John and Yoko walking through a thick fog and mist, arriving at their house as the music begins, to a sign above the front door to their house which reads: "This Is Not Here" (the title of Yoko Ono's then New York art show) and then to the interior shots of John at the piano as Yoko gradually opens the shutters to let in the daylight and reveal an all-white room. It's all so symbolic. But the end is where it gets me. Until that moment it all feels like a piece of art really, including when Yoko sits down beside John at the piano as he concludes the song, and she just looks at the camera.

But then ... as the song ends ... the couple look at each other and ... wait for it ... they kiss!

Fabulous! 

So let's sit back and enjoy the song today ... and dream.

 

Oh and by the way ... remember earlier I told you about the Strawberry Field project in Liverpool? 

Well, click on the link and you'll find information about the 'Imagine' Piano which is there.

It's actually THE world-famous piano that John Lennon used to compose and record one of the great peace anthems of the 20th century and it's on loan to the exhibition, courtesy of the estate of the late George Michael. It's a walnut-finished upright Steinway model Z piano and George bought it back in October 2000.

I haven't seen it myself yet but I'm looking forward to going to Strawberry Field when I can!


Live Love Listen Speak

WOW, I made it to the end of the week!

Lots to do today and then an opportunity to relax a bit.

And here's a thought to help us make it to the weekend!

Don't need to elaborate.

Have a great day!!

Fab Friday