Light The World

Dear friends

Happy New Year 2019! This time of year, Christmas and New Year can be difficult times for many; loneliness, cold, reminders of darkness in our lives when light seems to surround. Here’s a story and a thought to encourage you to light the world, light your community, throughout the year. See

In recent years our town, city, has become home to the homeless. Tents in the city parks have appeared and a soup kitchen takes over at 6pm outside a coffee shop which serves as additional meeting rooms for nearby businesses during the day. As a local government worker, I’m aware that there are targets for building homes over the next few years. As an architect, I know what can be done to the physical structures that lie empty while someone sleeps on the ground in it’s shadow. As a Christian, a Latter Day Saint, my heart aches to do more.

And so it was a few weeks ago that on a rainy morning as I left the office for a morning site visit that I passed a motionless figure wrapped in a sleeping bag at the base of an advertising kiosk, in the open rain, on the pavement. The guilt engulfed me as I passed on to my site visit – how many times have I been in lessons and heard the parable of the good Samaritan. Site visit done, I headed back to the office and determined that if that figure was still there I would offer assistance. I prepared myself by visiting the bank first and purposefully walking back the same way. The figure still lay there but I could see movement and rain had stopped, the sleeping bag was, of course, sodden. I knelt and began speaking. Food and drinks were on the pavement for the person so I explained that before trying to persuade them to let me help them to a local launderette, to wash and dry the sleeping bag. As this offer was refused I realised that the person was a woman. I then decided to give her the money which I had withdrawn and asked her to put out her hand so she could receive it. And I pushed the note into the grey hand which emerged from the side of the sleeping bag. Our family has been blessed throughout this year, we’ve not struggled for food, managed to pay bills and debts and though I’m not in the habit of giving money away, I felt humbled to do so. I then headed into the warm dry office.

Whatever you may feel about homelessness and how a person finds themselves sleeping on a rainy pavement in a sleeping bag under some cardboard, I know that individual is known to God who is the Father of us all. And we can be His hands to bring comfort to each other. And as this life is a test, I remember the scripture (Hebrews 13 v2):

Be not forgetful to entertain strangers : for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

And, of course, this one (Matthew 25 v40):

… Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

spring is back!

Dear friends
This weekend is Easter #Hallelujah and the clocks spring forward so we are heading into long, long evenings.  We have virtually 7 months of British Summer Time… it’s almost ridiculous to me that Greenwich Meridian is based in the UK, given most of the year we spend in BST!  Anyway, spring it is – grog spawn has been seen in ponds, daffodils are blooming everywhere, pumps are replacing boots, and Son2 left (abandoned!) his jumper at school!  We’ve had the school Easter concert – a great, stirring rendition of Bring him home from Les Miserables by the school concert band (not featuring Daur1 on flute who has been committed to revision sessions) and the Glee (interesting!) version of Homeward bound by the student led A Capella choir, featuring Daur2 singing alto. 
And today is my last full day in the office until early April – I have to go in next week to get a new, long awaited, laptop, but that will be the morning only.  And I think tomorrow we have a cinema trip planned – Batman vs Superman and Kung Fu Panda 3!  And I really must do some Christmas preparations!!  🙂

Christmas eve … lessons learned

Dear friends
A quick update.  We tried… but after a few trips to town and back, some wet tears, and some loud words, Daur1 stated:

I hate this!  I don’t like Christmas time!!

And at that point I realised that my own weakness,  laziness, fear and probably some pride, meaning I fail to adequately prepare was affecting those closest to me, in a very negative way.  So, I, we, are going to come up with a simple Christmas plan – month by month – so that by Son2’s birthday at end of November,  we are ready to enjoy the season.  I’m feeling optimistic that now the children are older, we can do this, all together, and it won’t be so painful!

Spirits were revived this evening as Mum, me!, climbed into the loft to bring down the tree and decorations.  And I did remember to take out the meat this morning to defrost for tomorrow!!  I hope you have a lovely, peaceful, Christmas Day!! #ASaviorIsBorn #HeIsTheGift #ShareTheGift

Christmas eve…

Dear friends
OK.  The weekend before Christmas is over – school finished, ward Christmas party, wedding anniversary, and Son2, our youngest, was baptised. And yesterday, I finished work until the New Year and my dear husband had our boiler serviced (so at least we should stay warm!).  And what else this week…, dinner for the missionaries and new friends and Daur2 had her ears pierced, once each, in the lobe – looking pretty! 

So now we have less than 24 hours to buy & wrap gifts for each other, decorate the house and tree (oh, take it down from the loft first and tidy the front room,  aka my dear husband’s study), deliver cards to neighbours and nearby family.  Alot can be done in 24 hours with 6 pairs of hands and 6 pairs of feet.  It’s 0745h, I think I need to get some of them moving…  I remind myself:

Jesus is the reason for the season

And refuse to feel pressure, stress, anxiety, for more than 24 hours! We’re going to enjoy the day preparing together 🙂 #ASaviorIsBorn #HeIsTheGift #ShareTheGift.  I wish you all a peaceful,  family, friendly, Christmas  🙂 … did I just hear sleigh bells?…

a Christmas message

The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has released a 2015 Christmas message:

We find the real joy of Christmas when we make the Savior the focus of the season. We can keep Him in our thoughts and in our lives as we go about the work He would have us perform here on earth. At this time, particularly, let us follow His example as we love and serve our fellowmen.

Christmas is the spirit of giving without a thought of getting. It is happiness because we see joy in people. It is forgetting self and finding time for others. It is peace because we have found peace in the Savior’s teachings. It is the time we realize most deeply that the more love is expended, the more there is of it for others.

As the Christmas season envelops us with all its glory, may we, as did the Wise Men, seek a bright, particular star to guide us to our Christmas opportunity in service to our fellowman. May we all make the journey to Bethlehem in spirit, taking with us a tender, caring heart as our gift to the Savior. And may one and all have a joy-filled Christmas.

I encourage you to check out this tag on social media #ASaviorIsBorn. I love being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 🙂

inside church


Dear friends
This is my current view. It’s early morning, at the chapel, I’m waiting for Daur1, and yes, those are my sock clad feet to the bottom right of photo. 
I’m reading the Book of Mormon (1 Nephi 13 verse 1):

Look! And I looked and beheld many nations and kingdoms…

And I looked around to ponder. And my mind cast back to when I first entered this building nearly 30 years ago, one spring morning for church.  It looks a little different – back then the walls were brick internally. But the feeling was the same. A feeling that I was home, where I should be. 🙂
And the beautiful paintings always remind me who I’m following.  I love our buildings, so simple and functional on every level.  When I visited St Vincent (in the Caribbean) it was great to see a lovely two storey building reflecting local stone materials, responding to the terrain (a hill and that’s why it was two storey).  And to know that our tithes are used for these. 🙂

I’ll take a few more photos (I need to slip on my shoes…) for those of you that have not seen the inside of a LDS church building. Enjoy! 🙂





supermarché, et al

Dear friends, this evening I’m on chauffeur duty – our dear two eldest children have seminary  (an LDS scripture study programme) in the next city followed by youth activities. This happens once a month so this evening,  having set out a bit earlier (picking up friend of dear daughter and allowing time for extra traffic due to bridge works) we arrived safely and in time.   So I decided to amuse myself by browsing round the local budget supermarket, twice! (I bought water & blueberry yoghurt for myself).  However, I felt a little melancholy while going round 😦

The last Christmas goods were knocked down in price for sale – from cards, to decorations, to Stollen, marzipan and a solitary stocking.  And then the would -be winter gifts – gilets, socks (lots of seasonal socks!), special box sets.  And then, as I came along the frozen food aisle with seasonal prawns,  my mind reflected on the news we heard in the car – 5 killed in the kosher supermarket in Paris,  including the gun man who killed the police officer yesterday.   And then I thought on how sad, disturbing,  that one walks into a simple supermarket and – because of another person’s choice – one doesn’t walk out.

It’s been a difficult week in Europe;  the French ‘motto’ = Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité = has been tested in a most cruel manner.   But, although I feel sad, I do not despair, because I know the state of our world, at this time,  has been prophesied – “And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24 v12).  So let’s stand up for truth and righteousness, and that includes freedom, equality and brotherhood, for that is who we are. 🙂  And we must keeping praying for the day when this iniquity will be bound!


Dear friends, I finally delivered cards and gifts to local family members. It sounds bad I know; Christmas Eve was a long day & I  didn’t feel like driving around town delivering at night.  No one seemed offended so that was good!   When I called my 40 years old brother by my 16 years old son’s name for not the first time,  he suggested that I have some sort of mental disassociation where I really feel that age! Huh? I think it’s fairly usual for 40-something mothers of 4 to get some names mixed up; and that I’m allowed to amongst family!  What do you think?